The boss of Lotus sports cars has been banned from driving after he was caught speeding at 102mph.
Jean-Marc Gales, 54, was handed a 30-day ban after he was clocked breaking the 70mph limit as he test drove one of the company’s new cars on the busy A11.
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.
Jean-Marc Gales, 54, was handed a 30-day ban after he was clocked breaking the 70mph limit as he test drove one of the company’s new cars on the busy A11
Gales has been chief executive for the world-famous car-maker, based at Hethel, Norfolk, 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.
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 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.
Mr Nicholls said a short ban rather than more points would 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’.
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.’
They also fined Gales £666 and ordered him to pay £100 costs and a £66 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 196mph Evora GT430.