Matt Becker, one of the handling aces who make Lotus cars steer so sweetly, has been poached by Aston Martin.
He has been appointed to ensure the next generation of Aston Martins handle as well as they look, in his new role as chief engineer VAE.
That’s Vehicle Attribute Engineering to you and me, aka seeing that Aston Martins meet the dynamic criteria expected of the brand.
Matt Becker moves to Aston: the background
Becker joins Aston Martin on 5 January 2015 and will report to Ian Minards, overall product development director at Gaydon. It’s one of the first high-profile appointments since new CEO Andy Palmer took over in October 2014.
Becker, the son of Lotus stalwart Roger Becker who did stunt driving for James Bond flick The Spy Who Loved Me when the tasked experts couldn’t get the Esprit out of shape, is tasked with four responsibilities in his new role at Aston:
• Vehicle dynamics
• Noise, vibration and harshness (NVH)
• Vehicle durability
Becker, who was at Lotus for 26 years, is replaced as chief engineer for vehicle test and development in Hethel by Dave Marler, a 17-year Lotus stalwart. He has worked on every Lotus road car since the Elise S2 in 2001 and will be joined by Gavan Kershaw, who assumes some of the dynamic tuning roles undertaken by Becker.
Lotus and Aston Martin: a common bond
There are striking similarities between Lotus and Aston Martin; both are small, very low-volume British sports car makers who use near-identical aluminium-intensive technologies.
In fact, Lotus has long been rumoured to have had a hand in the early development of Aston’s VH aluminium technology. Don’t forget that Lotus Engineering works for most of the world’s car makers in some consulting capacity.