Milestones

Humble Origins

Founder, Anthony Colin Bruce Chapman, studied structural engineering at University College in London

1948

Chapman's 2nd Trials Car

During his leave periods from the RAF, Chapman built his second trials car

1950 oct.

Mark 3 Circuit Racing

The first circuit racing car was designed; the first to actually be called a Lotus

1951

The Lotus Engineering Company

Chapman formed the Lotus Engineering Company

1952

Team Lotus is set up

The team comes into being.

1953

Early Production

1955

The Lotus 11

Developed as a descendant of the Mark 9

1955

Lotus Seven

The Lotus Seven was launched as a ‘no-frills’ sports car.

1957

Le Mans

The Eleven achieved a historic win in the 750cc Class of the Index of Performance at Le Mans

1957

Group Lotus PLC

This is the year Chapman established Group Lotus

1958

The move to Cheshunt

The factory moves from the original showroom on the outskirts of London, to a new purpose-built facility at Cheshunt.

1959

Mid-Engine Principle

Focused on winning, Chapman adopted and improved upon the mid-engined layout of the successful Cooper race cars.

1959

Type 20

Keen to maintain Lotus’ pre-eminence in Junior racing, Chapman developed the Type 20.

1960

Type 21

The Type 21 was the FIRST F1 car to use a reclining driving position.

1961

Type 24

Lotus introduced the Type 24 with a conventional chassis at the start of the ’62 Formula One season.

1962

Type 25

The 25 was the FIRST F1 car to use a revolutionary fully stressed ‘monocoque’ chassis design.

1962

Type 26

The Type 26 Lotus Elan was introduced.

1962

Type 29

Chapman developed his first Indianapolis car, with a power to weight ratio of over 800bhp per ton.

1963

Type 28

Lotus assisted Ford in winning the British Saloon Car Championship.

1963

F1 Winners

With Jim Clark at the wheel of the Type 25, Lotus secured its first Formula One Constructors’ Championship, and the Drivers title.

1963

Type 33

The Type 33 was an evolution of the monocoque Type 25.

1964

Another Double

Jim Clark brought home another double for Team Lotus, winning both constructors’ and drivers F1 championships.

1965

150.686 mph

Clark also won the famous Indy 500 race in the USA with a new record.

1965

Type 36

Type 36 Lotus Elan fixed head coupe made its debut.

1965

Move to Hethel

It was in this year that Lotus moved to a purpose-built factory based in Norfolk.

1965

Type 43

The FIRST F1 car to use the engine as a structural member. 

1966

Type 45 & Type 46

The enhanced Elan S3 drophead made its debut, followed by the mid-engined Europa road car.

1966

Type 47

Soon after the Europa went into production, work began on the Type 47, a Cosworth-Ford powered racing version.

1966

Type 49

The FIRST car to be powered by the legendary Cosworth-Ford DFV V8 engine.

1966

Type 50

The more spacious Type 50 Elan +2 went into production

1967

Jim Clark

Jim Clark tragically died in a Formula 2 race at Hockenheim.

1968 avr. 7

Another Double

Graham Hill drove to victory winning the Constructors’ and Drivers’ titles for Lotus  again.

1968

Gold Leaf

The FIRST commercial sponsorship in Formula One.

1968

Type 49

The FIRST use of Aerofoil wings in F1.

1968

S2 Europa

Lotus launched the S2 Europa.

1968

Seven S4

Vastly different from its predecessor, the S4 was designed to be sold to a much wider public through an all-new dealer network.

1969

Type 63

The Type 63 became the FIRST F1 car to use the wedge shaped front.

1969

Elan Sprint

In the January the famous Elan Sprint sports car was introduced.

1970 janv.

Type 72

Team Lotus unveils the innovative Type 72 formula one car that went on to achieve twenty grand prix wins.

1970

Jochen Rindt

Rindt was tragically killed at Monza before the season's end.

1970

F1 Double

Victory came again in both the Constructor's and Driver's championships.

1970

New Engine

Europa became one of the worlds quickest production sports cars.

1970

Type 72

Emerson Fittipaldi won both Constructors' and Drivers' Championship.

1971

Esprit

The Lotus Esprit concept, designed by Ital Design, is shown for the first time.

1972

Texaco Star

Lotus causes confusion by naming its next race car the Type 74, a type number already given to the Europa.

1973

No. 6

Lotus won the Constructors Championship for the sixth time

1973

2+2 Elite

Lotus' first 4 seater sports car was launched, the attractively shaped Type 75 Elite.

1974

JPS Mark 1

The Type 76 Formula One car, dubbed the John Player Special Mark 1.

1974

Safety Trophy

The Elite was awarded the DON Safety Trophy by the UK Minister of Transport.

1975

Esprit

At the Paris Motor show Lotus stunned the world with the premier of the dramatic Guigiario-styled Esprit (Type 79).

1975

2+2 Eclat

The Esprit was to reappear shortly afterwards at the London motor show, in company with the new 2+2 Eclat (Type 76).

1975

JPS MK 2

The FIRST car to incorporate adjustable suspension.

1976

The spy who loved me

The name's Bond... James Bond...

1976

Type 78

The FIRST car to manage airflow under the car including ground effects.

1977

F1 Dominance

Team Lotus dominated Formula One, achieving 12 pole positions, and 8 wins, and winning the double.

1977

Sunbeam

Chrysler UK (Talbot) called in the Lotus Engineering to help develop a high performance version of the Chrysler Sunbeam.

1978

Royal Visit

HRH Duke of Edinburgh visited the Hethel factory.

1979

Wingless Wonder

The Type 80 “Wingless Wonder” F1 race car is introduced, to be driven by Mario Andretti and Carlos Reutemann. 

1979

Party Time

The awesome Esprit Turbo was launched in tremendous style at London's Royal Albert Hall.

1980

Twin Chassis

The FIRST car designed with a carbon fibre monocoque, and two chassis.

1981

For Your Eyes Only

The Esprit Turbo shot to stardom, featuring strongly in the new Bond movie 'For Your Eyes Only.'

1981

2+2 Excel

It was neatly styled, powered by a 160bhp 2.2-litre Lotus twin-cam engine, and handled superbly.

1982

Type 91

With Elio de Angelis at the wheel, the Lotus Type 91 won its first Grand Prix Formula One race at the Austrian Grand Prix.

1982

Anthony Colin Bruce Chapman

Died suddenly from a heart attack at only 54 years of age.

1982

Type 92

The Lotus Active Suspension System was announced

1982

Toyota

At the request of Lotus, Toyota acquired a 16.5% stake in Lotus.

1983

Etna Concept

1983

Ayrton Senna

Ayrton Senna replaced the departing Nigel Mansell.

1985

Chrysler Corporation

Contracted with Lotus Engineering to develop a family of high performance 16-valve engines for its future range of passenger cars.

1985

Excel SE

The Excel SE is announced at the London Motor Show.

1985

General Motors

General Motors acquired 100% shareholding of Group Lotus plc.

1986

Camel Colours

Camel became Team Lotus' new major sponsor, and Honda the new engine supplier.

1987

New Esprit Turbo

At the London Motorfair the new Esprit Turbo made its debut.

1987

40th

In celebration of the company's 40th anniversary, a limited edition Esprit Turbo was produced.

1987

Type 100T

Formula One World Champion, Nelson Piquet joined Lotus, following Ayrton Senna’s departure.

1988

Esprit Turbo SE

The launch of the most powerful Lotus supercar to date.

1988

Elan

The Elan (Type 100) roadster was launched at the London Motorfair.

1989 oct.

Type 101

The Lotus Type 101 introduced the normally aspirated 3.5 litre Judd V8 engine.

1989

Lotus Carlton

The legendary Lotus Carlton (Lotus Omega outside the UK) was launched.

1990

Showroom Stock Series

In the USA, a works-supported team of three Esprit Turbo SE's entered the 'Showroom Stock' race series.

1990

Elan Award

The Elan received the British Design Council award. 

1991

Team Lotus

Team Lotus became privately owned by a new management consortium led by Peter Wright and Peter Collins.

1991

M200

The M200, a futuristic concept sports car based on the Elan caused a stir at the Frankfurt Motor Show in September.

1991 sept.

Sport Esprit X180R

Doc Bundy, driving the Sport Esprit X180R, took the Drivers' title in the Sports Car Club of America World Challenge for 'street-legal' cars.

1992

Chris Boardman

Chris Boardman won the 4000m Pursuit Gold Medal at the Barcelona Olympics on the Lotus Superbike.

1992 août

SID

Lotus Engineering remained busy with the extraordinary 'SID' (Structure Isolation Dynamics) research vehicle.

1992

Bugatti Ownership

Bugatti International of Italy bought Group Lotus from General Motors.

1992

Esprit S4

The Esprit S4 had a minor facelift and a range of mechanical refinements including power-steering as standard.

1993

Team ONCE

The new Lotus Sport 110 road bike made its debut on the gruelling Tour de France.

1993

Elan S2

The Elan S2 was launched at the Geneva Motor Show.

1993

Esprit S4S

The S4S came with 300bhp, new wheels and tyres, and revised suspension settings.

1994

Lotus Sport 110

Multiple successes with the Lotus Sport 110 carbon-composite bicycle.

1994

Police Stop

An Esprit S4 ‘Police Car’ was produced, demonstrating that there was no point running from the law.

1994

British National GT Series

Out on the race track, an Esprit Sport 300, driven by Thorkild Thyrring, won the British National GT series.

1994

Team Lotus Disbanded

Spiraling costs led to the disbanding of Team Lotus at the start of the F1 season, closing an important chapter in Lotus history.

1994

GT Race Programme

The Lotus GT race programme was brought in-house in preparation for an all-out assault on UK sports car endurance racing.

1995 févr.

50,000

Lotus produced its 50,000th car in the March of 1995.

1995 mars

Feature Marque

Lotus was the featured marque at the Monterey Historic Automobile Races in California, USA.

1995

Elise

The Elise was unveiled at the Frankfurt Auto Show, to the obvious delight of the press and public.

1995 sept.

Proton

Proton announced it had acquired an 80% majority shareholding in Group Lotus plc.

1996

Esprit GT1

The all-new Esprit GT1 racer was unveiled at the Paul Ricard circuit in France.

1996 mars

Esprit GT3

At the Geneva Motorshow the Esprit S4 GT3 was well received by both public and press.

1996

Innovation Award

The Elise became the darling of the world's motoring press.

1996

Living Logo

Lotus staff create the ‘Living logo’ in the grounds of Ketteringham Hall

1996

Test Cells

HRH Prince of Wales officially opened a new £3.5 million engine test cell block.

1996 nov.

1000th Elise

The Elise proved more of a hit than even Lotus expected.

1997

Millennium Product

The Elise was chosen by the Design Council as a prestigious ‘Millennium Product'

1998

50th Celebrations

In September Lotus hosted its 50th anniversary celebrations with a party at Hethel

1998

340R

At the Birmingham Motor Show in October, Lotus revealed the stunning 340R as a concept car.

1998

Esprit Sport 350

The lightweight and big-braked Esprit Sport 350 supercar was released as a dramatic limited edition model.

1998

Elise 111S

Lotus launched the Elise 111S at Geneva Motor Show.

1999

VX220

The Opel Speedster/ VX220 concept was shown, and the sports car went on to be built at the Lotus factory in Hethel.

1999

M250

Lotus revealed an all-new mini-supercar concept that fitted into the range between the Elise and Esprit. 

1999

Elise Sport 160

In response to enthusiasts demand for even more performance Lotus responded with the introduction of the Sport 160

2000

Exige Launch

On the eve of the inaugural round of the Autobytel Lotus Championship race series, Lotus thrilled the crowds by unveiling the new Exige.

2000

New Elise

The new generation Elise was launched, with improved performance, styling, handling and quality.

2000

Lotus Design

The new bespoke Research and Development Centre at Hethel opened in July.

2000 juil.

Extreme Concept

Lotus, famous for taking things to extremes, provided support to Coventry University design student, Ted Mannerfelt.

2000

Queen's Award

Lotus Cars were awarded the Queens Award for Enterprise.

2002

100% Proton

PROTON become 100% shareholders in Lotus Group International Ltd.

2002

Canaries

Lotus became the shirt sponsor for Norwich City Football team

2003

End of an era

The last Lotus Esprit rolled off the production line

2003

Elise 111R

Lotus launched the new 189hp Lotus Elise 111R.

2004 janv.

New Exige

At the 2004 Geneva Show, Lotus presented the new Lotus Exige on the world stage.

2004 mars

20,000 Elise

20,000th Lotus Elise Drives Off The Production Line, making it the most popular Lotus ever.

2004

Lotus Sport Exige

The 400bhp 850kg GT2 specification race car debuted in 2005,

2005 août 27

APX

At the Geneva motor show Lotus Engineering unveiled APX ("Aluminium Performance Crossover" ) vehicle

2006 mars

Sport Exige GT3

Secures victory in the 2006 British GT Manufacturers Championship

2006

World Record

Lotus went into the Guinness Book of Records for the biggest meet of any marque

2007 janv.

Evora Launch

The all new Evora is unveiled

2008 mars

Lotus Lightweight Structures

Group Lotus plc, announced the creation of Lotus Lightweight Structure

2008

Clark Type 25

Launched as a limited edition to celebrate Jim Clark's genius as a driver.

2008

Project HOTFIRE

Lotus Engineering celebrated being awarded 'The Engineer Technology + Innovation Award of 2008'

2008

2-Eleven

The Lotus Sport 2-Eleven GT4 Supersport race car asserted itself at the pinnacle of the 2-Eleven range

2008

Range Extender

Lotus Engineering, unveiled the Range Extender engine at the Frankfurt International Motor Show in a series hybrid vehicle.

2009

Evora Awards

Evora wins a multitude of awards, including the prestigious Top Gear Magazine's 'Sportscar of the Year...

2009

Type 124

The Lotus Evora Type 124 Endurance Racecar was developed from the award-winning Evora road car

2009

Evora Cup

The Lotus Evora Cup was unveiled in January at the Autosport International

2009 janv.

414e

At the International Geneva Motor Show Lotus Engineering unveiled the Lotus Evora 414E Hybrid concept

2010

Evora Carbon Concept

The Evora Carbon Concept was unveiled at the Geneva Motorshow.

2010 mars

2011 Elise

The 2011 Lotus Elise has as a new evolution body design and features the new high technology 1ZR-FAE 1.6 litre engine

2010

"The Engineer" Awards

Project Omnivore wins first place in the Automotive, Rail and Marine sector while the Fuel Cell Hybrid Taxi triumphs in the energy sector.

2010

Lotus returns to F1

The iconic Lotus name returned to Formula 1 for the 2010 season after a more than 15 year long absence.

2010

Elise Club Racer

The Elise Club Racer is announced as a stripped-back, even lighterweight version of the Elise.

2010

Sound Technology

Lotus Engineering and HARMAN create the next generation intelligent pedestrian warning system

2011

Lotus Range Extender

Lotus Engineering unveil the supercharged, extremely compact, lightweight, low-cost engine and generator designed specifically for hybrid electric vehicles.

2011

Hethel Test Track

The Lotus test track at Hethel was renovated in 2011 and officially re-opened on 21 June

2011 juin 21

DRB-HICOM

Malaysian DRB Hicom Bhd. purchase a majority stake in Lotus' parent company Proton Holdings Bhd

2011

Exige S Roadster

The first time an Exige model has been offered with a factory-fitted soft top roof.

2012 mars

Goodwood 2012

Lotus headlined the world's biggest car culture event in the summer.

2012 juil.

Exige S

Lotus Exige S voted joint winner of evo's "Car of the Year 2012"

2012

Evora Sports Racer

A visually enhanced and optimised version of the mid-engined 3.5 litre Evora is launched, available in both naturally-aspirated or supercharged variants.

2013

Elise S Cup

Ready for early press assessments, the Elise Cup S would be the most focused version of the still box-fresh Elise.

2014

Jean-Marc Gales

The multi-lingual, international, automotive businessman took over the reins of Group Lotus plc in May 2014

2014 mai

Automatically Better

The new Lotus Exige Automatic, in either Roadster, or Coupe forms, would be enticingly and automatically better.

2014

Elise S Cup

The Elise has never been better.

2015

Evora 400

The Lotus Evora 400 was launched at the 2015 Geneva Motor Show.

2015 mars

3-Eleven

Heralding the next generation of Lotus high performance sports cars, the 3-Eleven is the company’s quickest and most expensive series production car ever.

2015 juil.

Elise Cup 250

The fastest ever line up of Lotus production road cars was showcased at the 2016 Geneva Motor Show

2016 mars

Exige Cup 380

The limited production Exige Cup 380 is revealed in April.

2017 avr.

Evora GT430

The ultimate Evora variant, the GT430, is announced in September.

2017 sept.

Geely Majority Stake

Geely Holding Group buys a 51% stake in Group Lotus.

2017

Exige Cup 430

The ballistic Exige Cup 430 is launched on 9th November.

2017 nov.

Mr Feng Qingfeng

Geely announces Mr Feng Qingfeng’s appointment as CEO of Group Lotus plc in June.

2018 juin

70th Anniversary

Lotus celebrates its 70th Anniversary at Hethel in September.

2018 sept.

Phil Popham

Phil Popham is appointed Senior Vice President - Commercial Operations for Group Lotus and CEO - Lotus Sports Cars.

2018

Evora GT410 Sport

Evora GT410 Sport launched.

2018

Exige Sport 410

Exige Sport 410 launched.

2018

Lotus Return

Lotus debut the Evora GT410 Sport and Evora GT4 Concept at the 2019 Shanghai International Auto Show.

2019

Evija World Premiere

Evija, the British pure-electric production hypercar, representing Lotus's latest technology and design language, was officially unveiled in London

2019 juil.