Gavan Kershaw was appointed Director, Attributes and Product Integrity in May 2017.
Working closely with Lotus Design, engineering teams and the vehicle dynamics group, Gavan sets the targets, benchmarks and evaluation sign-off on everything to do with the performance of Lotus cars. That covers areas such as suspension, handling requirements, cockpit ergonomics and even what noise the customer hears.
His years of experience in vehicle dynamics and successful racing background makes him the perfect judge of what’s right for Lotus and its customers. That’s more relevant than ever as the industry moves towards electrification and autonomy; Gavan’s role is to ensure the brand remains ‘For The Drivers’ and the Lotus DNA is always at the heart of every car.
After successful completion of a Lotus Engineering apprenticeship, Gavan worked within the vehicle dynamics group. He was responsible for Lotus chassis programmes and Lotus Engineering client projects around the world. In 2010 he took technical responsibility for Lotus Motorsport, delivering the Evora GT4 and Le Mans GTE cars amongst others. In 2015 Gavan was promoted to Head of Lotus Vehicle Engineering, delivering several Evora and Exige programmes.
First ever job
I’ve never had another job outside Lotus. I was employed from school when I’d just turned 16.
I had a 1987 Fiat Uno and it sat on my drive for six months before I was legally old enough to drive it. I got bored with it and bought a Vauxhall Astra GTE 16v when I was 18.
It sounds corny, but I’m going with the Evija because it’s moving the game on so far. I enjoyed the Esprit when we were developing that, and I own an Esprit GT3.
Favourite driving road
I really enjoy the roads around Thetford Forest in Norfolk – the A1065 and A134 Triangle – which we use for road test evaluation. They’re quiet and picturesque, but with challenging surfaces. Once you’ve done that route it really helps you understand what a vehicle’s potential is.
Most proud of
What I’ve achieved through being a good driver. It has opened the doors to motorsport success, becoming a dynamics engineer, being part of a world-renowned team and even driving many of the historic F1 cars at Classic Team Lotus.
Desert island disc
I’m going to pick Don’t Stop Me Now by Queen, and a book called Tune to Win by Caroll Smith. It’s a race car set-up book from the Eighties and was the go-to manual for drivers if you were struggling with something. My luxury item would a MkI Lotus Cortina rally car on sand tyres.
I still love getting in a race car – some GT4 and historics – and I’m a typical husband / dad, so often found standing by the side of a football pitch or watching my daughter dance.
Claim to fame
I designed the Top Gear Test Track, so I’m the reason there are corners called Follow Through and Hammerhead. I also compared notes with Emerson Fittipaldi after I’d driven his Lotus Type 72 F1 championship-winning car. He didn’t know I was the guy who did the shake-down testing on it before he drove it at an event, and he signed a photo of me in his car.