The Disruptors: It looks like a Lotus, it feels like a Lotus...
PUBLISHED: 11:05 28 January 2020 | UPDATED: 16:51 28 January 2020
But does it sound like a Lotus? The latest in The Disruptors video series, meet the man whose job it is to know.
The penultimate in a 5-part mini-series exploring the history of innovation at Lotus, we meet the protagonists who have quite literally driven change.
What makes a Lotus feel and behave like a Lotus? Just ask Gavan Kershaw, the man responsible for making sure that every new model created by the 72 year-old brand drives, feels and even sounds as it should.
From early concepting right through to road testing the finished product, he meticulously checks every element of the car, from how it steers to the cockpit ergonomics and the feel of the acceleration.
The goal, as he explains in the latest installment in our Lotus video series, is to create cars that can win group tests on the circuit and still bring unparalleled comfort on the road for the driver — whether they're tackling a mountain pass in the Italian Alps, or simply heading to work.
How does one land such a dream gig? Gavan started with Lotus as an apprentice straight out of school in 1988. Now, it's his experience in vehicle dynamics that makes him the perfect judge of what's right for Lotus and its customers.
His racing background doesn't hurt either - in 2010 he took responsibility for Lotus Motorsport, delivering the Evora GT4 and Le Mans GTE cars amongst others.
Gavan's oversight is especially important as the automotive industry enters a brand new era characterised by electrification and autonomy. Can Lotus maintaining its brand identity while also staying true to its disruptive spirit? That's all part of the challenge.
Meet Gavan Kershaw, Director of attributes and product integrity at Lotus
First car: I had a 1987 Fiat Uno and it sat on my drive for six months before I was legally old enough to drive it.
Favourite driving road: I really enjoy the roads around Thetford Forest in Norfolk - the A1065 and A134 Triangle - which we use for road test evaluation. They're quiet and picturesque, but with challenging surfaces. Once you've done that route it really helps you understand a vehicle's potential.
Claim to fame: I designed the Top Gear test track, so I'm the reason there are corners called 'Follow-Through' and 'Hammerhead'. I also compared notes with (Brazilian F1 racing driver) Emerson Fittipaldi after I'd driven his Lotus Type 72 F1 championship-winning car. He didn't know I was the guy who did the shake-down testing on it before he drove it at an event.
The Disruptors is a video series highlighting the Norfolk, Suffolk and Cambridge businesses shaking up their respective industries. Read more and follow the series here.