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Goodbye, Elan. Goodbye, Eterne. Goodbye, Elite. Goodbye, new Elise. And goodbye, motorsports. Lotus is going back to the drawing board.
There's little question that, when Dany Behar took over at Lotus, he bit off more than he could chew. When Lotus' parent company was sold, its new owners put him on probation and then fired him for spending too much money. And ever since, it has been clawing back everything he's done. The boldest embodiment of Behar's ambition came at the 2010 Paris Motor Show when Lotus unveiled five new sportscar concepts at the same time, and pledged to build them all.
Now Lotus has reportedly canceled them all, except for the new Esprit that was already in development. The new Esprit will revive the nameplate of the mid-engined supercar produced from 1976 through 2004, but the jury's still out on what engine it will pack. All the others, however, have been consigned to the rubbish bin. Along with the production cars, Lotus has been scaling back its expansive motorsport program. Aside from the Evora GT racer, under Behar's management (and that of Claudio Berro who he brought over from Ferrari), Lotus branched into IndyCars, Formula One and Le Mans.
The IndyCar program was a total flop, with all but one of the teams that had signed on to use the Lotus-branded engines switching over to Chevrolet and Honda. The F1 team now has little more to do with Lotus than the name. And the Le Mans program never amounted to more than slapping the Lotus name and colors on a Lola chassis and BMW engine and allowing the Kodewa racing team to field it in the LMP2 category. Whether that will continue remains to be seen, but we doubt anyone will notice if it doesn't. In the meantime, look for Lotus to be re-strategizing with more attainable goals in mind.