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GP Week : Issue 134
A sports car like the Evora is designed with singularity of purpose: to have fun. But its horizon-hunting performance and figure-hugging cabin makes the driver feel he’s on a mission at all times. In my view, driving five hours to help a bridesmaid make the church on time, and then scoff the canapés before pushing on for another five hours of continental cruising is up there with any mission 007 may have encountered on Her Majesty’s Secret Service. It’s a Lotus, you’re meant to feel like Bond. When I picked the car up from the Hethel factory it had just 25km on the clock. Now it reads 3500, all completed in the past 96 hours. It’s nicely run in now, I reassure Bruno. “ When do I have to take it for its first service?” he asks, disparagingly. The front of the car is caked in dead flies. There are so many it makes the Evora look like it’s got a beard. So off we go to the car wash but, heavily populated Monaco being as it is, the queue of Ferraris and Rolls-Royces before us is an hour long. So we turn to DIY. Our photographer grabs a power hose while Bruno starts working on the windscreen with an oversized yard brush. Now the Lotus is as pristine as the gleaming gin palaces that bob in the harbour. We crawl around its edge along the grand prix course, but in the opposite direction; through the tunnel, tight around the hairpin, past the famous casino and up to the hills where Bruno trains on his bicycle. Ahead is a 2CV, its engine sounding like a manic sewing machine as it struggles to scale the road. Bruno drops a gear and the scenery flies by like a time warp as we dispatch the little Citroen. “ You really want to punch the loud pedal and play with it. I need to be careful not to get in trouble with the police in this car,” says Bruno, ignoring his own caution as he presses a button marked ‘Sport’. The engine immediately perks up, the throttle becomes much more sensitive, and the car pulls forward like a savage dog on a leash. The driver starts throwing the Evora into the corners, giggling to himself. Bruno’s first car was an Audi S3, but driving back home in Sao Paulo is something he’s never relished. His family’s cars are all armored to withstand the potential for crime there: “Armoring cars completely destroys their normal behaviour, so driving in Sao Paulo is definitely not what I like doing most.” Under the watchful eye of CCTV, Monaco is probably the safest place in the world to live. The favelas here are belle époque. And the switchback roads reward this new Lotus owner. “ The car is very stable into, during, and out of corners no matter how tight they are. I love to drive on these twisty roads, they’re great fun. This is my cycling route. I often go bike riding here with Alex Wurz, but he’s a bit too quick for me. The old man’s got skills! Sometimes after climbing for an hour we bomb back down at 70mph just to dry up the sweat, you know? Ha ha!” Bombing down this time we get to dry the car, and thread down into town and back to Bruno’s Fontvieille pad. We receive more than a few admiring glances along the way, which is some feat in a town with wall-to-wall supercars. “ There aren’t many of these here in Monaco, it’s a rare and also very attractive car,” notes the Brazilian. “ Ever yone is curious to know what it is and, of course, who’s driving it.” Posing is one thing, but as for driving road cars – even a premium sports car like this – I wonder whether, to someone who races F1 cars for a living, burbling along on the public lanes feels numb. “ There are only a few road cars that give me thrills after learning what a race car can do. Fortunately the Evora ticks all the right boxes and makes me excited to drive it.” And, to make sure it has sunk in, Bruno repeats himself: “I definitely need to behave or else I’ll get into trouble.” A sexy sports car and a fun loving racing driver – I reckon only good will come of it. “I’m fairly sure this car is very successful with the ladies,” he nods. Lucky so-and-so. F1 FEATURE >> 39