One person’s retirement from a car company can rarely be described as the end of an era, but it is hard to think how else to describe Roger Becker’s departure from Lotus.
All the great sports car companies have their great test drivers and the only reason Roger’s name is perhaps not quite so well known as Ferrari’s Dario Benuzzi or Lamborghini’s Valentino Balboni is that Roger is a considered kind of chap who’d always rather let his product do the talking.
He started on the shop floor in 1966 when barely out of his teens, but moved swiftly to the vehicle development team where he stayed for over 40 years. All Lotuses from the Europa Twin Cam forward – that’s Elite, Eclat, Excel, Elan, Elise, Exige and Evora – are his cars.
Probably more than anyone else, it is Roger who is responsible for preserving Lotus’ unrivalled reputation for handling genius over the last four decades.
Roger is now 64, but as you will see if you go onto YouTube and watch him drifting the Evora around Hethel he has lost none of his touch. It’s worth bearing in mind too that last year the Evora won our annual handling contest by an unprecedented margin.