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Lotus Advanced Performance offers hints about special projects

Four months ago, Lotus teased the creation of an Advanced Performance division. The legendary sports car maker divulged that the department would build “ultra-exclusive and unique vehicles” outside of the firm’s regular-production lineup, developing Lotus race cars, manage Lotus motorsports programs, work on customer commissions and create customer experiences from Hethel production tours and track days to global driving academies and “money can’t buy” opportunities. In further comments to Autocar and Auto Express, the head of Lotus Advanced Performance (LAP), Simon Lane, gave clues about what’s coming.

Lane suggested a number of creations, but the part we’re most excited about is “while wider Lotus Group moves towards full-on electrification, LAP is ‘reserving the right to still play with combustion engines.'” These ICE powerplants could be slated for coming restomod projects based on plans and technical drawings for Lotus products in the 1960s and 1970s that were never produced. Lane said his 15-person team is “well advanced” on work on what he calls “scratch build” vehicles that will hearken to vintage wares but be “easier to drive and maybe [have] a better power-to-weight ratio and better brakes.” We love our electric cars here at Autoblog, but the idea of lightweight revivals recalling Lotus’ best years with classic lines, small-displacement engines and maybe even manual transmissions would be glorious.

These won’t be continuation cars, but all-new products with production runs said to be smaller than anyone would expect.   

It’s possible we could see something this year, 2022 being the 50th anniversary of Emerson Fittipaldi and Lotus winning the 1972 Formula 1 Driver’s and Constructor’s Championships in the Lotus-Ford 72D. That might explain the teaser image from February, if not the colors of the car in the teaser. Know what other momentous Lotus moment occurred in 1972? The Esprit concept debuted at the Turin Motor Show.

Lane, who comes from service in Aston Martin’s Q division, calls LAP “the most all-encompassing special operations department” among automakers. That means there will be work done on the electric side, too, potential services being electric drivetrain conversions of traditional Lotus cars, and creating new bodywork for the new range of battery-electric cars. “With cars that use new car platforms — the Emira, Evija or new electric platforms,” he said, “that gives us an opportunity to put a new top hat on the car, potentially tweak the powertrain and do other things.”

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