Total Production: 340 1998 - 2000
The Lotus 340R was first shown on the cover of the July, 1998 Autocar's cover. Later it was shown at the British Auto Show. The vehicle was homologated and road-legal. It borrowed heavily from the Elise components, such as the aluminum chassis. The brakes, suspension and close-ratio gearbox are courtesy of the 190 Sport and 135 Elise. The reasoning behind using components from the parts bin was to ensure a cost-effective vehicle.
The tires were 195/50/15 in the front and 225/45/16 in the rear. These unique tires were created specifically for the 340R by Yokohama and Lotus engineers. To keep the weight to a minimum, they were mounted on lightweight magnesium wheels. The result was a tire comprised of compound that could be used in high-temperature track work and retaining the grip necessary for every-day road driving.
The brakes are cross-drilled, ventilated disc that are 282 mm in diameter. AP Racing opposed piston calipers and racing brake fluid meant the vehicle had excellent stopping power.
The mid-mounted engine was a 1.8 liter VHPD (Very High Performance Derivative) Rover K series engine that produced nearly 180 horsepower. With further tuning, the horsepower jumped to the mid 190's. Due to its high tuning, it frequently failed emission regulations. Zero-to-sixty took just over four seconds while top speed and aerodynamic instability was achieved at 130 mph. The vehicle had no doors and no roof. The five-speed close-ratio manual gearbox helped supply the power to the rear wheels.
340 examples were created and all were adorned in silver and black paint. 120 examples went to the UK while the rest were sent to Japan and other parts of Europe. A Thatcham cat 1 alarm was the only factory option. Both left and right hand drive versions were available. The interior featured a four-point competition harness, quick-release steering wheel, shift lamps, and lap timing clock. The steering was rack-and-pinion without power assistance.
An aftermarket Track Pack could be purchased. Included in the package was a CAT replacement, titanium exhaust pipes, five-point harness kit, Pagid brake pads, 190 horsepower upgrades, racing instrumentation, and more.
The Lotus 340R had racing car performance. It was comprised of lightweight materials and a potent engine. Deprived of luxurious materials the 340R was a serious road/race track vehicle. It had a power-to-weight ratio of 340 BHP / ton, thus the evolution of its name.
By Daniel Vaughan | Jun 2011