Since the last championship win in 1978 and the death of Chapman in 1982, the company has passed through the hands of several owners under several chief executives with various degrees of success. Now owned by Malaysian car maker Proton and its parent, DRB-Hicom, the last general manager, the egregious Dany Bahar and his cadre of managers were cleared out in 2012. Aslam Farikullah was appointed chief operating officer and in 2014 Jean-Marc Gales hired as chief exec.
This experienced team have been cutting back the old firm, again and again. Bahar's grandiose model plan has been deep sixed and the workforce heavily pruned. Making money building British sports cars is never easy, but Gales has tried to make more of what he inherited, including the Evora coupé, which this year was given a complete makeover including losing 42kg, with an increase in quality, a revised interior and an inlet-charge cooler for its supercharged 400bhp 3.5-litre V6 Toyota engine. Called the 400, the new £72,000 Evora 400 was introduced in the US this summer and is thrilling serious road testers out there.
Well they've been at it again and this autumn, the company releases the Sport version of the 400, called Sport 410 with a price hike to £82,000. What your 10 grand buys is a further weight loss of 70kg to give a kerb weight of 1,325kg despite the addition of a gearbox oil cooler. This has been achieved by jettisoning the occasional rear seats making the car strictly a two seater. Also in the bin are the air conditioning, stereo, rear bulkhead glass, sound insulation, door trims and even the mud flaps. New carbon-fibre panels for the roof, rear deck, and front and rear valances are joined by bucket seats in carbon fibre, a lithium-ion main battery saving 11.3kg and an optional titanium exhaust system which sounds saucier and is lighter. A new front splitter and rear spoiler raise downforce from 8.6kg to 18kg at 100mph and 32kg to 64kg at 150mph.