Lotus has announced its introducing a new special operations division called Lotus Advanced Performance.

    The new division has been created to design bespoke vehicles as well as “world-class customer experiences”.

    Lead by Simon Lane, former head of Q by Aston Martin, Lotus Advanced Performance’s aim is to help transform Lotus from a UK sports car company to a global performance car business and brand.

    Lotus Advanced Performance will be producing “ultra-exclusive” and unique halo vehicles, along with limited-edition models.

    The bespoke division will also allow owners to personalise their new Lotus with exclusive colours, trims, materials, options and accessories.

    Marking the introduction of this new Lotus division, Lotus Advanced Performance has released a single teaser image of a modern-day-looking Can-Am racer with a humongous rear wing.

    This likely pays homage to the Lotus Type 66 Can-Am racer that never made it to production.

    Early design sketches and CAD renderings of this proposed Lotus Can-Am racer were found by Classic Team Lotus in a fireproof case, as reported by Motor Sport Magazine in 2016.

    These vehicles seem to be very similar with both of the racers having bright red paint, a large rear wing, thick rear tyres, prominent intake trumpets, and a rounded roll bar.

    Photo credit: Motor Sport Magazine

    We’ll have to wait and see if Lotus Advanced Performance brings this forgotten Type 66 Can-Am racer to life.

    The division has already dived head first into motorsport and will offer a Lotus Driving Academy with “expert tuition” behind the wheel of a Lotus car at locations around the world.

    It’ll also deliver lightweight racer cars, including the Emira GT4, to customers around the world.

    Lotus Advanced Performance is also going to be offering experiential opportunities to customers as well.

    These experiences include tours of the new £100 million (A$188.64 million) Hethel plant in the UK, to ‘money can’t buy’ opportunities around the world”.

    There’ll also be a range of accessories and merchandise for Lotus owners to purchase.

    “This new division is an exciting addition to our business and another key element of our Vision80 transformation,” said Lotus Cars managing director Matt Windle.

    “With the Emira and Evija starting production in the coming months, Lotus Advanced Performance is another significant opportunity to enhance our brand and communicate direct with customers.”

    Lotus is gearing up to reveal its Type 132 SUV in Autumn 2022. The vehicle has been teased a number of times now.

    It’s the first of four EVs that’ll be launched over the next few years, which have been previewed in a shadowy teaser.

    The Type 132 will rival the Porsche Cayenne, and Lotus says it’ll follow it with an E-segment four-door coupe – think Mercedes-Benz CLS-size – in 2023.

    A D-segment SUV, the Type 134, will follow in 2025 while the Type 135 sports car will follow in 2026.

    The new electric models will be built at Lotus’ new plant in Wuhan, China and will join the all-electric Evija hypercar and the Emira, Lotus’ last petrol-powered car, which are manufactured at Hethel.

    Lotus is in the process of rolling out four new platform architectures:

    • Hypercar, used by the Evija
    • Sports Car, used by the Emira
    • E-Sport, to be used by electric Lotus and Alpine sports cars
    • Premium, to be used by everything else

    The Premium architecture has been designed to accommodate C-E segment vehicles, and Lotus says it supports a wheelbase range from 2889mm to 3100mm and could be expanded further.

    Vehicles on this architecture will use 92-120kWh batteries with an 800V charging system, and will be capable of 0-100km/h times of under three seconds.

    The new Wuhan plant they’ll be built in covers an area of over 1 million square metres and will have an annual production capacity of 150,000 vehicles.

    Lotus has invested over 8 billion RMB (A$1.75 billion) in the plant, which the company says will be the first in the world with an “integrated intelligent test track” that can accommodate vehicles driving at speeds of up to 230km/h through 16 corners.

    MORE: Lotus Type 132 SUV teased, reveal set for Autumn 2022

    Jack Quick

    Jack Quick is an automotive journalist based in Melbourne. Jack studied journalism and photography at Deakin University in Burwood, and previously represented the university in dance nationally. In his spare time, he loves to pump Charli XCX and play a bit of Grand Theft Auto. He’s also the proud owner of a blue, manual 2020 Suzuki Jimny.

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