Lotus just named a special edition Evija after one of them.
When Lotus unveiled the limited-edition Lotus Evija Fittipaldi at its Hethel test track recently, the sports car manufacturer invited Emerson Fittipaldi himself to the event. More than just a celebration of the new car, the event celebrated 50 years since Fittipaldi won the 1972 Formula 1 Driver's Championship and Lotus won the Constructor's Championship, gathering the eight remaining Lotus Type 72 F1 cars together for the first time ever with the first of eight special editions of the Lotus Evija electric hypercar.
Fittipaldi was given the opportunity to drive the Evija Fittipaldi edition around the track, where he was joined by another F1 World Champion: Jenson Button. Button may have won his title behind the wheel of a Brawn GP racer, a story that will be told soon on the silver screen by Keanu Reeves, but has strong links with Lotus due to his involvement with Radford.
While it's unlikely we'll ever find ourselves behind the wheel of one, we now have the opinions of two famous F1 champions. The 75-year-old Fittipaldi - who may be a little biased towards his namesake - reckons that it has "beautiful handling, incredible power, the next level of performance for hypercars, and different from all the other cars I've tested. It is a beautiful piece of art. Look at the outside, look at the technology - to have my name on the car is an honor for me."
Before getting behind the wheel of the Evija, Fittipaldi drove his old Lotus race car. "It's a very special day for me to be back at Lotus to commemorate 50 years since my first World Championship," he said. "My Lotus 72 is one of the most iconic cars in the history of Formula 1, and the most important car from my life."
Jenson Button also seemed to be pretty deeply impressed by the Evija, stating that "it feels like a spaceship, the drivability and direction in the steering certainly lets you know you are driving a Lotus; I am amazed by the agility of it. It is a Lotus of the future." This track excursion had extra appeal for Button, because it also allowed him to give feedback regarding detailed tweaking he'd like on his personal Evija before delivery.
More than this, it could form the basis of a future Radford model, as in our interview with Button and business partner And Anstead, Anstead told CarBuzz that "Radford's partnership with electric will be sooner than you think."
The all-electric Evija is quite far removed from the traditional Lotus philosophy of simplifying and then adding lightness. At 3,700 lbs, the Evija is the heaviest Lotus sports car ever made, largely due to the heft of its battery packs, so it has to compensate for that weight in other ways, mainly with tons of horsepower.
Fitted with an electric motor at each wheel, each rated at 493 horsepower, the combined output amounts to a cool 1,972 hp and 1,254 lb-ft of torque. Fed by a 70-kWh battery pack, this is enough for a 0-62 mph dash in less than three seconds and a 0-186 mph rush in less than nine. It'll hit a top speed of more than 200 mph.
Evija Fittipaldis are loaded with special trimmings inside and out, including gold-anodized trim for the interior air vents and central rotary control dial (among other details), and even a hand-painted plan outline of the Type 72 etched into the carbon-fiber roof to go with the bespoke black-and-gold John Player Special paintwork. Only eight Lotus Evija Fittipaldis will be built, and they're already all spoken for at an undisclosed price.