Lotus Evora owner review
There are many SSC customers in the Lotus community, and all have their own story of what prompted them to buy a Lotus and how they use it.
Peter Gardiner is one such customer who is about to enter the next phase in his journey as a Lotus owner, namely travelling to Hethel to complete driver training with ex-Formula One driver Martin Donnelly at the Lotus Driving Academy. But how did Peter get to this point?
I want to become a better driver
Pete’s journey started in August 2017 when he drove his F-Type Jaguar into Simply Sports Cars and said: “I want to look at a Lotus”. A couple of hours and a test drive later, Pete’s mind was made up and he was the proud owner of a 2017 Evora 400. The car was Metallic Blue in colour, so it came as no surprise when Pete, a proud Scott, asked if we could get a Saltire (the Flag of Scotland) put on the roof.
During Pete’s buying process, he mentioned a desire to “become a better driver”. While a Lotus was the obvious choice of car, the car itself is only part of the equation. Using the car in controlled environments under the guidance of well-credentialled instructors is a key component of becoming a better driver.
And so began Pete’s journey of events with Simply Sports Cars and Lotus Cars Australia. Starting with a few Burrows Drive Days at Sydney Motorsport Park, Pete was soon to experience a Lotus only track day at Wakefield Park as well as a VIP drive day at a private location that cannot be mentioned. If you’ve been there you’ll know what we mean. If you haven’t, best get in touch and register for one of our future events.
Track days and driver coaching
After the first Burrows Drive Day, Pete had a harness bar and harness installed, and soon began to appreciate the benefits that come from being firmly strapped into your car when travelling at speed. Lap times dropped noticeably. Little by little Pete was coming to grips with his car and taking on board the expert instruction he was receiving from Lotus instructor Barton (“Bart”) Mawer. Bart’s credentials are many, including Bathurst GT 12 Hour class winner and World Time Attack champion. Bart’s calm demeanour in the passenger seat and his knowledge of how best to drive a Lotus all make for quality coaching, and Pete took as much as he could get.
Attempting Targa Tasmania, Phillip Island and Mount Panorama track days
Pete’s next challenge was Targa, and what better place to start than Targa Tasmania 2018 as part of the official Lotus Tour. 6 days, 2000+ kilometres, 33 closed road special stages including the iconic 52km Mount Arrowsmith. Throw in a dozen other Lotus owners, full support from Lotus Cars Australia, all your travel, accommodation, food and beverage needs included and you get one heck of an experience. According to Pete “Its been a hell of a long time since I’ve totally forgotten about work & smiled so much…oh with a few gulps thrown in for good measure”.
Pete’s confidence steadily grew, and previously unconsidered locations like Philip Island and Mount Panorama (Bathurst) were ticked off the bucket list, courtesy of Lotus Cars Australia hosted track days. At the time of purchasing his Lotus, Pete had no idea of how many events he would gain access to as a member of the Lotus community. The calendar of events hosted by Lotus Cars Australia and their dealer network is vast. Add in club and affiliate events, and you can be driving your Lotus at an event almost every 2 weeks!
Switching from the Evora to a Lotus Exige
Post Bathurst 2019, Pete decided he wanted to go the next step in his race craft, and to do this he wanted a more focused car for the track. In his own words, Pete says “the Evora is an amazing car. that can easily be driven daily. It surpassed my expectations on track”. But Pete’s desire to further hone his driving and further reduce his lap times meant he needs a new weapon. Queue the Exige Sport 410.
Pete has recently taken delivery of a Metallic White Exige Sport 410, complete with the Scottish Saltire on the rear wing end plates (of course!). Thus far, he’s been to Sydney Motorsport Park and that location we can’t mention. Next stop though is Hethel UK, where Pete will get to spend 3 days driving around the iconic Lotus test track as part of the Lotus Drive Academy.
We look forward to seeing Pete back in Australia and seeing what he can do in his new track-focused Lotus.