By on January 24, 2018

lotus evora gt430

Most of us have been caught speeding at one time or another. As enthusiasts, it’s often difficult not to try and squeeze out every last ounce of joy from a fun-to-drive automobile when the path ahead is open. While we may think of corporate executives as soulless monsters, singularly focused on satisfying shareholders and lining their pockets, some of them are also people who enjoy driving cars.

Lotus CEO Jean-Marc Gales is definitely such a man, and his love of driving ended up getting him into trouble when he was nailed for traveling 102 mph in a 70 mph zone on England’s A11 expressway. While the offense occurred roughly a year ago, his court date was yesterday. With eight points already on his license (most of which also came from speeding violations), things looked bleak for Gales, at least until his lawyer managed the most brilliant defense in traffic court history — claiming that it was vital the CEO not lose the ability to test drive new models.

It worked. 

According to The Telegraph, defending attorney Simon Nicholls explained to the Norwich courtroom that Gales was only testing the new Lotus as part of his job. Since he would need to continue to do so, Nicholls suggested a short ban as an alternative to adding more points — which would result in Gales’ disqualification as a motorist.

The attorney insisted that sentencing guidelines were “handrails not handcuffs,” suggesting that a brief suspension would be “in everyone’s interest.”

We don’t know if Mary Wyndham, chairman of the bench, is a car lover or just easily intimidated by lawyers, but she agreed to impose a 30-day driving ban instead of adding points. Gales, who was not present in the courtroom, was fined £666 for the offense — followed by a £100 in court fee and a £66 “victim surcharge.” All in, that’s about $1,183 USD.

Joshua Harris, director of campaigns at the UK road safety group Brake, didn’t seem too pleased with the court’s decision.

“Driving over the speed limit is selfish, reckless and endangers lives,” he said. “There is no justification for traveling at the speeds demonstrated in this case and Mr. Gales should count himself lucky that he did not receive an additional six points on his [license], resulting in a 12 month ban. Excessive speeding is a menace on our roads and the law should be used to its fullest extent, making clear that this kind of behavior will not be tolerated.”

I’m not sure if this is a victory for driving enthusiasts or just another case of wealthy executives getting away with murder, but I am clearly less hurt by the outcome than the well-meaning nerds at Brake. In any case, I’ll definitely be trying the “it’s for my job” defense the next time I’m slapped with a speeding ticket.

[Image: Lotus Cars]

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23 Comments on “Lotus CEO Busted at 102 MPH, Lawyer Claims He Was Just Testing the Car...”

  • avatar

    When I saw the statement from ‘Brake’, I pictured it being read in a whiny nasal manner by one of those busybody types.

    The Lotus CEO is lucky, speeding in the UK seems more of a serious offence than many others, easy pickings and lots of money to be made!

  • avatar

    Was he slowing down when they busted him? That is barely doing “the tonne.”

  • avatar

    Apart from the superlative produict, this is a prime example of why lotus is a real sportscar maker for entusiast drivers and not a “brand” making fast Gt cars like the others.

  • avatar

    102 mph on the arterial in Utica, NY will get you rear-ended.

    • 0 avatar
      Tele Vision

      in 1988 I thought I was getting pulled over in our rented Renault 25 on the Autoroute in Northern France. I’d been humming along at 145 Km/h in the slow lane when the blues n’ twos rocked up behind. They clocked my rental tags, I guess, then pulled alongside and gestured to speed up. They then roared away ahead of us. The POS Renault handled Ludicrous Speed admirably, as overloaded as it was: I think we cruised at about 160 Km/h after that. 5000 RPM all day long.

  • avatar

    It’s good to be able to afford a lawyer.

  • avatar

    Some animals are more equal than others. <——- This defense would have worked, too

  • avatar

    It’s the same everywhere; and for all times.

    Money talks; and bullschite walks.

    Back 35 years ago, there was a Cleveland Browns football player…who had the bad luck to have an accident. Late at night. After Closing Time.

    With a BAC of .12.

    With a femaie in his car. Age, 15 years old.

    Accodent also involved a municipal vehicle. Which had red and blue gumballs on the top of it. Operated by the minions of the law.

    JUDGE…gave said football player his license back. Without citing a legal rationale for so doing.

    …but WAIT! There’s MORE…

    …the intoxicated minor female in the Brown’s car…was the judge’s daughter.

    This is no schitte. The news reports have been scrubbed; and the player is still alive. The judge is now dead; but he wouldn’t be the one to throw lawsuits around…so I won’t mention here, unless invited to do so.

  • avatar
    Jean-Pierre Sarti

    i don’t blame the lawyer for selling this horse crap, i blame the out of touch judge for buying it.

    i love going fast as much the next fella but that is what a closed road is for. i could be wrong but the UK has a great many closed roads and tracks for this purpose.

  • avatar
    Jeremiah Mckenna

    I had a friend plead temporary insanity, and win. His lawyer told the judge that he had a temporary insane lapse moment because he was driving his Lamborghini on the 405 during rush hour. “Who in their right mind would drive their extremely expensive, collectors car in that amount of traffic and subject it to the possibility of even the slightest amount of damage?” is what the lawyer said. Of course I am paraphrasing to get around the legalease, but you get the drift. The lawyer bought it, but made the guy pay some sort of court cost. I’m sure he also had to pay green fees for at least one or two rounds…

  • avatar

    A generous 20% tip atop the £666 fine. What the Devil is a victim surcharge? Shouldn’t that be a victim refund, being that British subjects are victimized by the fee-and-surcharge raj?

  • avatar

    I often “test” my grand cherokee srt on the toll way near my house too!

  • avatar
    SCE to AUX

    I actually used this defense once after being stopped by a roadblock set up to catch me while a patrol car was in hot pursuit behind me on a winding road, at night. The entire episode lasted ‘only’ a couple minutes, but it seemed longer.

    I told them I was testing my suspension after some repairs. Since they couldn’t actually clock my speed, I received 2 points and a small fine for reckless driving. In fact, I know at one point I was doing 75 mph in a 25 zone.

    Stupid behavior of my youth, 1983.

  • avatar

    Ridiculous! I’ve never exceeded the speed limit.


  • avatar

    Good to meet you officer, I am the CEO of Volkswagen. I am just testing this GTI, nothing to worry about.

  • avatar
    Greg Locock

    The judge is a fool. Lotus has its own test track at Hethel, no need to use public roads. I think I managed 140 on the main straight. The curve just before is taken at 90, and I slowed down to 60 for the hairpin at the end.

    Not that I’ve ever exceeded speed limits in my life in test cars. I just expected to get hammered if I got caught.

  • avatar

    Joshua Harris, director of campaigns at the UK road safety group Brake, didn’t seem too pleased with the court’s decision.

    “[…] Excessive speeding is a menace on our roads and the law should be used to its fullest extent, making clear that this kind of behavior will not be tolerated.”

    I’m against excessive speeding too. Just the right amount, on the other hand…

    I’m surprised the Lotus was able to hit 102 mph on the A11, which is a pretty busy road.

  • avatar
    John Horner

    Hmmm, do you suppose the judge would have imposed the same sentence on young man with the exact same driving record, a heavy accent and dark skin? I bet not.

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