HETHEL, England—In the late 1960s, the Lotus Type 49 was the most successful race car in the world. The Cosworth-Ford powered machine won numerous Formula 1 races and was one of the first race cars to feature aerodynamic wings.
Lotus recently tapped into that heritage to create the performance soundtrack for its new Evija electric hypercar. It is working with Patrick Patrikios, a renowned British music producer, who was inspired by the engine noise of the iconic Type 49.
“We wanted to create a soundscape for the Evija that was recognizable and distinctively Lotus,” says Patrikios. “We wanted something intrinsically connected to Lotus so we could set an audio blueprint for its future electric cars.
“There’s a purity to the Type 49’s V8 engine; a raw edge and an emotion that stirs something in your soul, just like the best songs,” claims Patrikios.
Few race cars in the world are as celebrated as the Lotus Type 49. It won its first Formula 1 outing, the 1967 Dutch Grand Prix, with legendary driver Jim Clark at the wheel, and a Type 49 was on pole position at every race for the rest of the season. In 1968, Graham Hill won the World Drivers’ Championship in a Type 49.
The process of capturing that heritage for the EV era began with the recording of a Type 49, which Patrikios fed into his computer. In digitally manipulating the sound, he and a team of Lotus engineers realized that slowing the engine note down created a similar frequency to the natural driving sound produced by the Evija’s all-electric drivetrain.
“I adjusted the replay speeds and digital filtering of the Type 49 to generate a soundscape for the Evija, and it was a very organic process,” recalls Patrikios. “We all wanted something to spark an emotional connection between car and driver. Sound is hugely influential when it comes to creating and forming emotions.”
“I love that the sound from one of the most iconic Lotus cars of all time has been the inspiration for its newest,” says Patrikios. “There’s a symmetry to it which is beautiful.”
Patrikios’ primary task was to craft the Evija’s external noise as it begins to deliver its 0 to 186 mph acceleration in under 9 seconds. Using the soundscape he created, Patrikios has also developed chimes and tones for everything from the activation of the indicators to the seatbelt warning.