FLOWER POWER

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It was another night for the Hethel history books as resurgent British sports car manufacturer Lotus gave a world debut to the all-new Emira. It was staged live in front of an on-site audience of VIP media and honoured guests, with tens of thousands more viewing the simultaneous online broadcast from all corners of the world.

The hour-long live-action unveiling was centred on the iconic Hethel test track and culminated in a high-octane lap of the north circuit by an Emira – officially the last petrol-powered car from Lotus. That lap drew to a close on the steering pad, directly in front of the audience as they witnessed the ‘unboxing’ of another Emira.

Former Formula 1 World Champion and Lotus customer Jenson Button was the special guest. A film of him putting the Emira through its paces on the Hethel track was played, with Jenson delivering his exclusive ‘first drive’ review live to the audience.

The Emira premiere was broadcast live via the Lotus website and social media platforms. In a nod to global travel restrictions, Lotus had invited scores of international Lotus ‘superfans’ to be involved in the premiere. Exactly 131 of these owners and enthusiasts were selected to be part of a high-tech real-time ‘fan wall’ which appeared on the box’s TV screens. The number 131 reflected the Lotus type number allocated to the Emira before it was officially named.

As well as providing a platform for the Emira’s debut, the event was designed to turn the spotlight on Hethel itself – upgraded as part of a £100 million-plus investment in Lotus’s UK operations. Guests took part in a walking tour of the site to see the transformation, which includes the all-new production line and paint shop where the Emira will be built, starting later this year.

Next stop for the Emira is the Goodwood Festival of Speed, where the car will make its public dynamic debut. Lotus is the ‘Featured Marque’ at this year’s event, which means the ‘Central Feature’ – the giant sculpture outside Goodwood House – will celebrate Lotus.

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