Lotus Evora, Goldman’s Steven Cho, SAC’s Chris LaSusa: Car Gala

At around 9 p.m. yesterday, race- car driver E.J. Viso popped into a midnight-blue 2011 Lotus Evora IPS, revved up the engine, and steered the car past several hundred guests seated for dinner.

The slow ride made for an exciting moment at the New York International Auto Show gala preview, a fundraiser for East Side House Settlement.

Viso parked near gala co-chairman Christopher LaSusa, portfolio manager at SAC Capital Advisors LLC, and the podium.

Soon after, Christie’s International auctioneer Lydia Fenet auctioned the car, for $80,000, to Jamie Brown, president of investment bank Canaccord Genuity Inc.

“I bought it for the charity, and I’m looking forward to driving it,” Brown said in an interview after, standing with co-workers next to his firm’s two tables. “This is a terrific event.”

More money was raised when Steven Cho, a partner at Goldman Sachs Group Inc. (GS), and chairman of the East Side House Settlement scholarship committee, talked about the income gap between those with college educations and those without. His words spurred more than 30 guests to make $1,000 donations, for which they received Lotus baseball caps.

The East Side House Settlement gala preview is an annual event that gives guests the chance to roam the show early, cocktail in hand. Dinner tickets for this year’s event were $1,000 and cocktail tickets were $200.

British Sponsor

Lotus signed on as a sponsor of the gala as part of its effort to break into the American market. The European carmaker produces 2,500 cars annually.

“We have an ambition to actually deliver to American customers something like 500 units,” said Lotus’s director of sales, Guillaume Chabin.

The Evora model retails for $64,000 to $75,000.

“A Lotus is all about driving, handling, cornering, having this direct relationship between the road and yourself,” Chabin said. “It’s the closest you can get to a racing experience with a standard road car.”

The New York International Auto Show opens to the public today and runs through Sunday, May 1.

(Amanda Gordon is a writer and photographer for Muse, the arts and leisure section of Bloomberg News. Any opinions expressed are her own.)

To contact the writer on this story: Amanda Gordon in New York at agordon01@bloomberg.net or on Twitter at @amandagordon.

To contact the editor responsible for this story: Manuela Hoelterhoff at mhoelterhoff@bloomberg.net.

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Photographer: Amanda Gordon/Bloomberg

Jamie Brown, president, Canaccord Genuity Inc., and Dennis Byrne, principal, Canaccord Genuity Inc. Brown bought a 2011 Lotus Evora for $80,000 during a live auction at the gala preview of the New York International Auto Show, organized by East Side House Settlement.

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Photographer: Amanda Gordon/Bloomberg

Jamie Brown, president, Canaccord Genuity Inc., and Dennis Byrne, principal, Canaccord Genuity Inc. Brown bought a 2011 Lotus Evora for $80,000 during a live auction at the gala preview of the New York International Auto Show, organized by East Side House Settlement. Close

Jamie Brown, president, Canaccord Genuity Inc., and Dennis Byrne, principal, Canaccord Genuity Inc. Brown bought a... Read More

Photographer: Amanda Gordon/Bloomberg

E.J. Viso, race car driver, gets ready to take the Lotus Evora IPS for a gala spin. Close

E.J. Viso, race car driver, gets ready to take the Lotus Evora IPS for a gala spin.

Photographer: Amanda Gordon/Bloomberg

The 2011 Lotus Evora IPS arrives at a dinner to benefit the East Side House Settlement. E.J. Viso is behind the wheel, with Jimmy Vasser, 1996 IndyCar season champion, in the passenger seat. Close

The 2011 Lotus Evora IPS arrives at a dinner to benefit the East Side House Settlement. E.J. Viso is behind the... Read More

Photographer: Amanda Gordon/Bloomberg

Kari Pinkernell and Jason Pinkernell. Close

Kari Pinkernell and Jason Pinkernell.

Photographer: Amanda Gordon/Bloomberg

Dawn Scheirer, managing director, Perella Weinberg Partners LP, drives a Porsche. "It's luxurious but it also performs, and it feels safe," she said. Close

Dawn Scheirer, managing director, Perella Weinberg Partners LP, drives a Porsche. "It's luxurious but it also... Read More

Photographer: Amanda Gordon/Bloomberg

Kamyar Neshvadian, quantitative associate at Highbridge Capital Management LLC. Close

Kamyar Neshvadian, quantitative associate at Highbridge Capital Management LLC.

Photographer: Amanda Gordon/Bloomberg

Peter Bacanovic, Martha Stewart's former broker, and Mariana Zios, benefit committee co-chairman. Close

Peter Bacanovic, Martha Stewart's former broker, and Mariana Zios, benefit committee co-chairman.

Photographer: Amanda Gordon/Bloomberg

Celia Ammerman, a former contestant on the television show "America's Next Top Model," in a dress by Kimberly Ovitz. Close

Celia Ammerman, a former contestant on the television show "America's Next Top Model," in a dress by Kimberly Ovitz.

Photographer: Amanda Gordon/Bloomberg

Darrell Weberg and Philip Zambrano of Professional Image Car Care are polishing cars at the Jaguar booth during the New York International Auto Show. "It's nonstop," Zambrano said of their clean-up efforts. "We deal with more fingerprints than the FBI." They use a microfiber cloth, a duster, and "swag juice -- our own mixture of the finest detailing products," Weberg said. Close

Darrell Weberg and Philip Zambrano of Professional Image Car Care are polishing cars at the Jaguar booth during the... Read More

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