Jenson Button found time to attack the famous track during Monterey Car Week.
Former F1 driver and world champion Jenson Button must have too much time on his hands. In addition to reviving a car company called Radford Motors, and helping develop its Lotus-based Type 62-2, he's also the face of the new Lotus Emira. He has now accompanied the car to the US for the Pebble Beach Concours d'Elegance, but on the way decided to make a stop at the famous Laguna Seca Raceway before the festivities begin.
If you've never been to Laguna Seca in Northern California, it's not a super complicated track, though there are some trouble spots, including the famous corkscrew that drops 5.5 stories in just 450 feet of track. Of course, Button and the Emira handle it with aplomb.
If you missed last month's news, there's a new Lotus called the Emira and it promises to be the best one ever for both road and track driving. It measures just 173.7 inches long, 74.6 inches wide, and 48.2 inches tall, which make it slightly longer, narrower, and lower than the outgoing Evora GT. It weighs 3,097 pounds.
The Emira features a choice of two engines. Buyers can spec a mid-mounted 3.5-liter Toyota-sourced V6 engine with a supercharger and your choice of a six-speed manual or automatic gearbox, or a Mercedes-AMG-built 2.0T from the Mercedes-AMG CLA 45 with an eight-speed dual-clutch automatic gearbox. Lotus hasn't divulged how much power each motor makes, only specifying the range will have between 360 and 400 horsepower. For our money, the V6 - which will be in the First Edition of the car, will be the most powerful, and it's the one Button is piloting here, as you can tell from the supercharger whine and six-cylinder symphony.
0 to 60 mph comes up in as little as 4.5 seconds on the way to a top speed of 180 mph. Along the way, Button praises the sound of the V6, and we can't help but agree. We wonder if the Hethel-tuned version of the AMG four-cylinder will be able to compete noise-wise, but somehow highly doubt that it will.
In the video, Button pushes the Emira through the turns, easily knocking off apexes. He dispatches with the most famous turn easily, noting that, "This is such a great circuit, most road cars on tracks don't work, but this does." Of course, as a Lotus ambassador, he wouldn't say anything negative about it, but we hope to be able to judge for ourselves soon.
US pricing of the Emira isn't available yet, but it'll likely start around $80,000. If you want to get acquainted with it, it'll be at Pebble Beach this weekend alongside an Ayrton Senna-inspired Evija and the aforementioned Radford 62-2.