Piers Ward15 March 2012

Goodwood FoS and Revival: line-up

Lotus is the headline marque this year, and TG got a quick ride in the Evora GTE up the hill...

Hosepipe bans, brilliant sunshine followed by thick fog - it must be spring. Which means only one thing - the motor racing season is about to start. And as the big events are beginning to announce their line-ups, Goodwood has released details on what will feature this summer.

As in every year, there is a Festival of Speed (29 June to 1 July) as well as the Revival meeting at Goodwood circuit (14 to 16 September) and both promise fans the sort of access that F1 enthusiasts can only dream of.

Highlights at the Festival include Sebastian Vettel making an appearance in the Red Bull F1 car, along with seven other F1 teams, plus the 30th Anniversary celebration of Group C Sportscars and the 60th Anniversary of Brabham. For those after a more sedate pace, Goodwood will also be honouring the Queen's Diamond Jubilee with a display of some of her most iconic cars, as well as the Royal train from the 1920s.

The Revival also heavily features anniversaries - there'll be a race of Cobra Shelbys to celebrate 50 years of that car, and a demo race of the 1937 Silver Arrows, when the German Auto Union and Mercedes teams demolished the home cars at the Donington Grand Prix.

But back to the Festival. This year, Lotus is the signature marque so it will have the sculpture on Lord March's front lawn - hopefully welded, and not glued, together.

Lotus' future development is up in the air as its owner Proton goes through a sales process, but the Norfolk manufacturer has still got a busy year in 2012. There's a new Exige, and also the Evora GTE - a hardcore version of the Evora, with a more powerful 438bhp, 3.5-litre engine and wider track. Plus, the GTE weighs 105kg less than the Evora - hardly a fatty itself.

No-one other than Lotus employees has driven it yet because it's not quite production-ready (the clutch still needs some work because it doesn't drive smoothly at low speeds), but we got the chance to ride up the Hill in it.

Initial impressions? The interior quality is much better, with a nice mix of leather and carbon fibre trim. And it sounds good too - some Lotus's can be quite muted, but the GTE definitely has a harder edge to it.

The best news is that it seems to have kept Lotus's famed ride quality. Despite being a hardcore Evora, it still wafted up the hill - that magic combination of sports car handling and GT ride quality that's unique to Lotus has been retained. If a quick blast up the hill is anything to judge it by anyway.

 

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