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My wife wanted to go to Europe and asked me if I wanted to go, I said "Hethel yes!"

We had a great day at Lotus. Did the tour and a track day. Instructors were excellent. It was great to drive the 2011 right wheel Elise on their test tract, real challenge. You could tell the track was not designed to go fast, but to toss you and the car out of balance. I was really impressed how smooth that car moved and really impressed on the demo rides. The instructors just made all the corners feel strait. I think he turned the wheel twice on the whole lap, whereas I was jerking the car everywhere.

The Factory tour was incredible, but they did not allow cameras (sorry). It was torture not to be able to take a photo and painful to see the Exige S knowing we cannot get it here in the USA. That car is incredible in person, pictures do not do it justice anyway. Urghhh, I want that car! We did get a photo of one outside the factory when my wife was taking a demo ride (it's the white and black beauty above her head in the photo).

The tour of classic Lotus was awesome. Getting to see where the F1 cars were designed, built, and now restored was priceless.

If you are in the UK, you must go.
 

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Amazing :UK: I definitely hope to go one day. It's up there on my bucket list. Seeing the Type 25 in person must have been incredible knowing the success it had at the time with Jim Clark.
 

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Yes quite a great experience. At the orientation they asked what Lotus cars you've had. To stand in the rooms where the world's best race cars were built was humbling.
 

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I heard that the Hethel track days now feature a small selection of left hand drive cars for the rest of us. Is that not the case?

We're hoping to go this fall. I'm trying to arrange for an Elise S1 car rental when we get there, or possibly a Caterham 7, although arranging this 6 months in advance and then getting rain on could be really miserable.
 

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They do offer a left wheel. I just forgot to request before I got there. No big deal, just another challenge right? They are great. Have fun when you are there!

I heard that the Hethel track days now feature a small selection of left hand drive cars for the rest of us. Is that not the case?

We're hoping to go this fall. I'm trying to arrange for an Elise S1 car rental when we get there, or possibly a Caterham 7, although arranging this 6 months in advance and then getting rain on could be really miserable.
 

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They do offer a left wheel. I just forgot to request before I got there. No big deal, just another challenge right? They are great. Have fun when you are there!
Glad you and your wife had such a great time! I was there a few years back and it was great. They were testing the Lambo-engined Camel liveried F1 car then, and the sound was wonderful.

In the factory tour, the guy that took us around had worked on the line in 1972 when my TC Europa was built (he actually apologized for the build quality!).

And RHD is not a problem. I went to Brands Hatch, went round in a Formula First and a BTCC car...the first few laps with the shifter on the "wrong" side was hard, but soon everything was OK.

If you haven't done this, it should be your life's goal if you own an Elige. Those turnip farmers can screw together cars like no others.

Stephen.
 

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John: I am organizing a surprise birthday trip for my car-devotee husband to the UK, and your post & photos inspired me to include the Lotus tour and track drive as part of his gift. Did you arrange your visit directly through the Lotus folks or did you use a tour operator or other guide? Any information would be great. Thanks!
 

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John: I am organizing a surprise birthday trip for my car-devotee husband to the UK, and your post & photos inspired me to include the Lotus tour and track drive as part of his gift. Did you arrange your visit directly through the Lotus folks or did you use a tour operator or other guide? Any information would be great. Thanks!
Legit post!
 

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Thanks, FuelRush! I have managed to book a factory tour, but the Driving Academy only is posting September dates, and we will be there in October. Any info on other sources for driving a Lotus would be most appreciated. C'mon guys, you are the experts. Hethel must have some other enterprising folks who will provide an hour or two of Lotus driving.
 

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Thanks, FuelRush! I have managed to book a factory tour, but the Driving Academy only is posting September dates, and we will be there in October. Any info on other sources for driving a Lotus would be most appreciated. C'mon guys, you are the experts. Hethel must have some other enterprising folks who will provide an hour or two of Lotus driving.
You don't say where you're located, but here's one place in the US you can rent a Lotus: Performance Rentals - High Performance and Exotic Car Rentals in the New York Tri-State area.

As for Hethel, you might try to contact Richard Parramint for answers to your questions. He's a user on this site (http://www.lotustalk.com/forums/member.php?u=1373) and I believe that he directs the Academy (and is pictured on the far left in the group photo above a Classic Team Lotus).
 

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You don't say where you're located, but here's one place in the US you can rent a Lotus: Performance Rentals - High Performance and Exotic Car Rentals in the New York Tri-State area.



As for Hethel, you might try to contact Richard Parramint for answers to your questions. He's a user on this site (http://www.lotustalk.com/forums/member.php?u=1373) and I believe that he directs the Academy (and is pictured on the far left in the group photo above a Classic Team Lotus).

Thanks for the link! This is a great option for me as I do not own a Lotus yet, but always wanted to drive an Elige. And the rental is in my neck of the woods too. :)



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I wanted to report in on the Lotus trip, and to thank all of you who made such helpful suggestions. We have just returned from Norwich, where we had a fascinating factory tour, a day tour with Richard Parramint that included visits to Ketteringham Hall, Colin Chapman's gravesite, Team Lotus, a visit with Clive Chapman, and more.

For me, as a lawyer and business person, I found the tour of the Lotus Factory a bit concerning. We were there right before the 300 layoffs of factory employees were to take effect. The factory claims to have 600 cars orders in the pipeline, but most of the factory was dark and few people were working. Our tour guide said that it has been that way for awhile. In addition, Lotus intends to only ship/sell their race cars to the US and to discontinue selling the Elises and Exiges in the US. Since the US is the company's largest market, that seems like a rather strange business strategy.

Wouldn't a sensible business want to fabricate those 600 cars as fast as possible to generate revenue? Wouldn't it also want to sell cars in its largest and best market? I don't know who the venture capital company overseers are, but their strategy certainly is unusual.
 
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