When GT Sport launched back in October 2017, we thought it was a little bit light on content. Polyphony Digital has been addressing that, piece by piece, with free updates over the game’s life, but there’s one thing still notably absent: Lotus.
The famous brand from Norfolk, UK, is a puzzling omission. Although most of our readers will have their own suggestions for cars and brands that should be in the game, Lotus was actually in GT Sport originally. In fact its Evora and Elise appeared in pre-launch materials and game show demos right up to the demo version and then, like that, it was gone.
It seemed like a peculiar decision at the time. Lotus, as a brand, pretty much embodies motorsport. The first Lotus cars were all race cars, designed as trials cars by founder Colin Chapman. His most famous early creation, the Lotus Seven, is still in production in a manner, as it forms the basis of the super lightweight Caterham Seven.
Why did Polyphony Digital remove Lotus from the game so close to launch? Some point the finger at Geely’s acquisition of the company. Geely also owns Volvo — and its sportier Polestar brand — which is another manufacturer yet to make the transition from Gran Turismo 6 to GT Sport.
The timings seem to add up. Parent holding group Zhejiang Geely bought Lotus in May 2017. That’s after the start of the closed beta in March 2017, but four months before the game launched. That being said, other games released around the same time, such as Forza Motorsport 7 and Need for Speed Payback, both retained Lotus.
However, information related to GTPlanet from a source at Lotus suggests a simpler reason: money. Our source told us that the issue hinges on the nature of the licensing agreement between Lotus and Gran Turismo. This, they say, involved diminishing returns, so the rate of payment fell over time.
It’s likely then that the 11-month launch delay, from November 2016 to October 2017, had the unintended consequence of reducing the value below what Lotus was expecting. It appears this lead to the current situation, with Lotus cars not currently licensed for use.
Fortunately, the disagreement seems to be relatively amicable, and Lotus’s absence from GT Sport has only been temporary. It looks like a resolution is just around the corner, as this Tweet from the official Lotus Cars account suggests:
We hope to be back in the game soon.
— Lotus Cars (@lotuscars) April 24, 2019
Along with the Elise and Evora from the betas, Lotus could bring an extra dimension to the FIA-Certified Online Championships. The brand entered an Evora in the GTE class at Le Mans in 2011, and homologated an Exige in GT3 in 2007. It also currently campaigns an Evora GT4 race car, and there’s a Super GT GT300 Evora — albeit using the Mother Chassis. Then, of course, there are the two GT1 cars — the Esprit and Elise — from the mid-to-late 1990s and last seen in Gran Turismo 2.
We’ve reached out to Lotus for any official comments, and we’ll bring you more news as we get it.
Thanks to Daniel55 for the Twitter tip-off!