► Speeding Lotus chief avoids long ban
► 102mph ticket, but no extra points
► 'He needs to test drive cars himself'
The chief executive of Lotus Cars, Jean-Marc Gales, has avoided a long driving ban after he was caught speeding at 102mph in one of Hethel's lightweight sports cars.
Norwich Magistrates Court was told that Luxembourg-born Gales, 54, needed to test drive cars himself as he helped sign off on future Lotus products.
Chairman of the bench, magistrate Mary Wyndham, agreed and Gales escaped with a 30-day ban, after he was clocked doing 102mph on the A11 in Norfolk in January 2017, breaking the 70mph speed limit. No extra points were added to Gales's licence, which already has eight points. Under the totting-up procedure, that likely would have led to a lengthy driving ban.
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Gales had been caught doing 96mph on the same road in 2014, when he was given five points on his licence and fined nearly £400. The Norfolk court was told this week that losing his licence would put at risk Gales's ability to lead the company.
Wyndham told Simon Nicholls, defending Gales, that the Lotus CEO should avoid driving prototypes on public roads in future. 'He should use somewhere else,' she warned. Sounds like the Hethel test track may be the perfect no-limits environment for seeing how Lotus cars really perform...
The laywer told the Daily Telegraph it was 'a common sense decision.' He added: 'There are people out there doing far worse - someone driving at 35mph on their mobile phone is far more dangerous.'
Gales, who splits his time between Turin, Italy at weekends, and Norfolk Monday to Friday, was not in court to hear the judgment.
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