Lotus boss snapped doing 'vital' 164km/h motorway test
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The boss of Lotus sports cars has been banned from driving after he was caught speeding at 164km/h.
Jean-Marc Gales, 54, was handed a 30-day ban after he was clocked breaking the 110km/h limit as he test drove one of the company's new cars on a the busy UK motorway.
The Luxembourg-born businessman avoided more points being added to the eight he already has on his licence because it is 'vital' that he test drives new cars, his lawyer told magistrates. Gales has been chief executive of the world-famous carmaker since January 2014.
He lives in Turin, Italy, with his wife and family and travels to the UK from Monday to Friday to develop Lotus cars along with its Chinese backers.
The 54-year-old was taking a new Lotus for a spin when he was caught by traffic police on January 5 last year, Norwich magistrates' court heard.
Gales was not in court for the hearing yesterday. He admitted the speeding offence and already has eight points on his licence.
Chairman of the bench, Mary Wyndham told Mr Nicholls the Lotus boss should avoid using the A11 to test his cars in future and stick to the test track.
She warned: 'He should use somewhere else.'
Simon Nicholls, defending, said he was asking for a short ban rather than more points on his licence as it was vital as chief executive that Gales could test drive new motors himself.
Mr Nicholls said the Lotus chief had sparked the stunning turnaround of the company himself. He said that although the world-renowned firm had engineers to test cars, as head of Lotus Gales liked to test the cars personally.
CEO Jean-Marc Gales (left) and Hexagon chairman Paul Michaels
Mr Nicholls said a short ban rather than more points would be a better option all round. 'It's in everyone's interest,' he stressed. Mr Nicholls said Gales would still have eight points on his licence which would mean he'd have to watch his speed in future.
He insisted that sentencing guidelines were 'handrails not handcuffs'. They also fined Gales £666 (NZ$1270) and ordered him to pay £100 (NZ$190) costs and a £66 (NZ$126) victim surcharge.
Gales studied for an MBA in Management at Imperial College London from 1988 – 1989 before going on to secure a position as executive director at Opel and Saab from 2004 until 2006.
He was then global sales director at Mercedes-Benz before becoming president at French car manufacturer, PSA Peugeot, Citroën. Chinese car maker Geely bought out a majority stake in Lotus last year, when it brought out its fastest supercar yet, the 315km/h Evora GT430.