Archives for category: driving

In a move that was wildly expected and still completely stunning, Ferrari confirmed Kimi Raikkonen to a 2 year contract from 2014. I sort of wish I could have observed Fernando Alonso’s heart rate when he was made aware…

It s relevant to a blog about Lotus cars because it comes at the expense of our own team…

This news, while stirring to the bold of ANY Grand Prix fan, is less likely than the new engine regulations to end the soul destroying reign of that unlivable Sebastian Vettel, but it can’t hurt .

I can’t recall Ferrari management EVER recalling a decision, especially one as public and brutal as his sacking a few years ago. They literally paid him $20mm NOT to drive their car.

The last time the two best drivers were on the same team was the McLaren pairing of Prost/Senna pairing of the late eighties. Additionally, they had the services of Gordon Murray who, was the Adrian Newey of the time. It made for some dry entertainment…

As much as I love Lotus, and this IS a massive loss for them, Kimi belongs at Ferrari. In the other hand, Nico Hulkenberg is rumored to be Kimi’s replacement, and he is, along with Paul DiResta the best of the new drivers.

Let the fireworks begin.

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I had a quiet drive on Sunday. It was a half hour out and back. The temperature was in the low eighties, it was late afternoon and there was blissfully little traffic.

It was the first moment I was completely absorbed by this Esprit.

I should explain… …a car is a car, but in a car like this, there is a lot of other “stuff” happening while you are driving it that you don’t get in other cars. There are noises it takes getting used to, constant comments, and other reactions to the car from strangers, the disorientating way it cocoons you, the ride height, and the power to name some. It takes a while to sort of filter it out to the point that its just you and the machine.

Well, that has happened, and it is as I remembered it. In a word: sublime.

It’s funny how Lotus managed to combine the raw visceral violence of the 918 engine to such a polished chassis. I know to this day Roger Becker still whines about the V-8 being an “engine too far” and on some level I agree with him, (after several years in an Exige) but taken without regard to any other motorcar, the Esprit is a fascinating experience. I don’t suppose any other manufacturer has ever managed to combine supple ride quality and communication as successfully.

Anyway, more than anything else, the Esprit makes the physical act of DRIVING a car rewarding. I find now that I have enough “seat time” to disenfranchise myself from the fact that it is an exotic to get that now. Is funny, the car has been trying to have a conversation with me for almost a year, but this was the first time I actually listened…

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I’ve been driving.

It’s silly to people who are used to terrestrial cars to think like that, but to those who have had their eggs scrambled by an Esprit it’s saying something, and it’s thrilling. The car is behaving except an Ac fuse that keeps popping, a suspicious puddle that has formed under a coolant line, and a minor vacuum leak I have yet to suss out. My friendly Field Engineer Dave isn’t kidding when he says Esprits need a little “looking after” from time to time…

I have developed rhythm with the car, but I don’t suppose I will ever get “used” to it. The switchgear was familiar to me almost immediately, but it took some time to develop synchronicity with the machine. I am coming to know it very well. Ultimately, I don’t think I will have as complete an understanding of it as I have with my other Lotus cars. I am not tracking it, and only through driving a car at your limit do you ever really “get” it. Having said that, it’s devotion to business class travel, and the occasional spirited drive are really thrilling. I’m glad I have it in my stable.

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We have a VW SUV. It’s a great auto. In many ways much more complete a vehicle than the Esprit. I am “used” to it, and what I mean by that Is it can be piloted without much thought. You get in, synch your phone, select the sat nav destination, your xm radio station, climate, and before you know it, you are at your destination. It’s almost like it was designed to make travel comfortably forgettable.

With a sporting car, it isn’t the destination that matters, it’s the travel. After driving many more sports cars than I have a right to, and quite a few exotics, I can honestly say that only a few make the act of travel from point a to point b as entertaining and memorable as an Esprit.

I think that was the point of the exercise for Colin Chapman.

I am looking forward to the final service call of the year. It will feature tires, a radiator (bigger because I am paranoid, not because its necessary) a cat back exhaust, timing belts, and a couple of minor issues I have been living with. You never want to curse yourself by declaring a car like this “sorted” but at that point, I will be as close an a human can get with an Esprit.

I plan on running it this fall until the roads are too cold to support the horsepower.

There will be no “lack of use abuse” on my watch.

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