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Boss of Lotus cars gets driving ban after he was clocked going 102mph on A11

PUBLISHED: 14:31 22 January 2018 | UPDATED: 14:31 22 January 2018

Lotus CEO Jean-Marc Gales. Picture: DENISE BRADLEY

Lotus CEO Jean-Marc Gales. Picture: DENISE BRADLEY

Copyright: Archant 2016

The boss of Norfolk luxury sports car maker Lotus, Jean-Marc Gales has been given a 30-day driving ban after he was clocked speeding at 102mph while test driving one of their new cars on the A11.

Gales, 54, who has been chief executive for the Hethel-based car company since January 2014, was behind the wheel taking a new Lotus on a test run when caught by police using a handheld speed detection device breaking the 70mph speed limit on January 5, last year, Norwich magistrates were told.

Gales, who lives in Turin, Italy, and was not in court for the hearing, pleaded guilty to the speeding offence and the court heard he already has eight points on his licence.

His lawyer, Simon Nicholls said that rather oddly he was asking for a short ban to be imposed rather than more points on his licence as it was vital that as chief executive of the company Gales could personally test drive new vehicles himself.

Mr Nicholls said Gales was responsible for the remarkable turnaround in the fortunes of the company and although the company had engineers to take new cars on the road, as head of Lotus he liked to test the cars personally and see how they handled.

Mr Nicholls said Gales lived in Turin with his wife and family: “He travels to this country Monday to Friday to develop Lotus cars along with its Chinese backers.”

He added that if magistrates imposed a short ban rather than more points it would a better option for all concerned: “It’s in everyone’s interest,”

He said Gales would still have the eight points on his licence which would mean he would have to watch his speed in the future

“Of course he was driving very carefully but was not driving in accordance with the speed limit.”

Mr Nicholls added that guidelines were “handrails not handcuffs.”

Chairman of the bench Mary Wyndham said that magistrates agreed to impose a 30-day ban and fined him £666 and ordered him to pay £100 costs and a £66 victim surcharge.

She told Mr Nicholls that Gales should avoid using the A11 to test his cars in future and stick to the test track: “He should use somewhere else.”

Geely, the Chinese car maker that owns Volvo and London Taxi Company completed its purchase of a majority stake in Lotus last year and the company has introduced a number of models including the fastest Lotus yet, the Evora GT430.

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