It takes a lot of downforce to rein in 2,000 horsepower.
If there's one thing that Britain's Lotus Cars excels at, apart from lightweighting, it's aerodynamics. Today, those aerodynamics are the purview of Richard Hill - an employee of Lotus for more than 30 years, who oversaw aerodynamics development for the incredible new Lotus Evija hypercar.
To hear him tell it, Lotus's overall philosophy with the Evija was to design the whole car as an "inverted wing to produce that all-important dynamic downforce."
"It's about keeping the airflow low and flat at the front and guiding it through the body to emerge high at the rear," Hill says, comparing the Evija to a "jet fighter" where the average sports car could be more accurately compared to a "child's kite."
But another key component of the Evija's efficacy is its "porosity" - its ability to move through the air not by "punching a hole" in it, but by "breathing," allowing air to pass through the body where possible instead of around it.
"The front acts like a mouth," Hill says, ingesting the air and taking "every kilogram of value from it" in the form of downforce, before "exhaling" it through the rear. The Venturi tunnels in the rear quarters are part of the car's porosity as well, "feed[ing] the wake rearward to help cut drag."
"Think of it this way; without them the Evija would be like a parachute but with them it's a butterfly net, and they make the car unique in the hypercar world," Hill says.
Every nitty gritty detail of the Lotus Evija has been optimized for maximum performance. The deep front splitter performs triple duty, the central section supplying cooling airflow to the battery pack while the sides channel air to cool the front e-axle, and the whole piece acting to limit drag and lift by minimizing the amount of air permitted to flow under the car. The rear wing is active, extending up into the "clean," low-turbulent air above the car to maximize its effectiveness.
The Evija even has an F1-derived Drag Reduction System, or "DRS," that deploys from the rear of the car to make it faster in a straight line.
First revealed in July of 2019, the Lotus Evija is set to enter production later this year, with a price tag of around $2.2 million.