You don’t usually associate Lotus with off-roading. But when the driving surface is carved through powdered snow settled on a lake frozen solid, what’s not to enjoy!
Track days are a key activity for the Lotus China team. They’re a great way to raise the profile of our brand to media, customers and potential buyers, showing off the legendary Lotus performance car ride and handling and the lightweight engineering that’s at the heart of our products.
The team took their activities to the next level over the new year period, staging the first ever Lotus Winter Driving Academy. The destination for guests was the frozen beauty of the Hulan Hekou, an 800,000 m2 wetland park at the confluence of two rivers near the city of Harbin. The capital of Heilongjiang, China’s northernmost province, temperatures can drop to well below -30 degrees Celsius at this time of year.
Almost 50 people attended, taking the chance to test their driving and improve their skills under the watchful eye of expert instructors and racing drivers. Set up as a one or two-day programme, those taking part started out doing simple circles and figure-of-eights to build their confidence. Thanks to patient tuition from the passenger seat, they eventually progressed to an icy 4km high-speed course to challenge even the most advanced driver.
Their weapon of choice was the Lotus Evora GT410, offering exceptional dynamic performance and a thrilling 0-60mph time of 4.1 seconds. A fleet of cars were on hand to support the activities, and feedback on the event was overwhelmingly positive.
David McIntyre is Regional Director, China and Asia-Pacific for Lotus. He attended the Academy and commented: “Harbin is known as ‘the ice city’ and famous for its snow and ice festival. That made it the perfect location for the Lotus Winter Driving Academy. Guests were able to test the legendary handling of a Lotus in the most extreme conditions we could find – on a frozen lake!
David added: “Driving the Lotus Evora GT410 on ice is a great test of our cars’ reliability and handling, and most of all just really good fun. All our guests came away safer and better drivers, and with a full understanding and new respect for what our cars are capable of. I truly hope this will become an annual event, and that next year we can invite customers from across China, Asia-Pacific, and other regions of the world.”