• Jun 23, 2011
Lotus Hethel circuit – Click above for high-res image gallery

There are a great many things that Lotus does well. The company's own sports cars are some of the best-handling machines money can buy, and Lotus also performs magic on other automakers' chassis on a consultational basis. Turns out, it lays out some pretty serious race tracks, too.

The Top Gear test track, for one, was designed by Lotus. And now the Hethel-based automaker has built its own on-site test track.

Not unlike the Nürburgring, the 2.2-mile circuit is split into two loops: the 1.3-mile north loop with two long straights connected by a hairpin, and the 0.8-mile south loop, packed with curves and elevation changes named after famous racing drivers who've piloted for Lotus. There's also a skid pad near the center, and a pit lane complex with 12 two-car garages.

The kicker, though, is that the circuit is fully FIA-certified, meaning that it's capable of hosting a wide variety of races on premises, from GT racing to F1 test sessions. The facility's proximity to the Snetterton circuit, however, might limit those prospects. Check out the layout and shots of the track in the high-res image gallery.


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    • 1 Second Ago
  • 7 Comments
      jimv8vantage
      • 3 Years Ago
      It is essentially the same track that has been there for many, many years. The main straight was actually the runway from the WWII US airbase that previously occupied the site. The main difference seems to be the relocation of the skid pad. The most important change is that they repaved it. I have driven an F1 car there twice, once in a pouring rain, and it was the most dangerous thing I ever did in a race car. There were still some areas where the original airstrip concrete was visible. It is a tribute to the chassis people at Lotus that they could develop such incredible handling cars on such a terrible surface.
        brands
        • 3 Years Ago
        @jimv8vantage
        Indeed. Not sure why this is news. The track has been there for yonks. Previous home of the 389th Bomb Group 'Sky Scorpions' of the US 8th AirForce, and yes, the surface was atrocious!
      Mike B
      • 3 Years Ago
      Why no comment on the new information about the spirit than Lotus gave in the presentation of their new test track? 4.8L DOHC V8 producing 560-575hp and 399 lb-ft of torque weighting 375lbs. Estimated acceleration for the Espirit is 0-62 in 3.4 and 0-124 in 9.0 and a top speed of 204mph with a £168,500 price tag
        rocketmoose
        • 3 Years Ago
        @Mike B
        I know Lotus is going upmarket, but I'm going to miss the days where Lotuses cost half that, tops. Ah, oh well. Is that V8 blown or naturally aspirated?
          Mike B
          • 3 Years Ago
          @rocketmoose
          naturally aspirated
        Mike B
        • 3 Years Ago
        @Mike B
        Espirit*
      Seedublyew
      • 3 Years Ago
      Looks like it was there before, they just updated, modified it by adding the Graham Hill, and moved the skid pad.... http://maps.google.com/maps?q=Hethel,+United+Kingdom&hl=en&ll=52.562858,1.17941&spn=0.004187,0.008798&sll=52.549206,1.180957&sspn=0.016754,0.035191&t=h&z=17