A prototype of the Lotus Sport Exige GT3 race car was unveiled at the annual FIA GT Championship presentation ceremony outside the world famous Casino in Monte Carlo, Monaco on 02 December, 2005. The following day (03 December 2005), the first test for the car took place at the high speed Paul Ricard High Tech Test Track in Southern France under FIA supervision, the first stage in the Lotus Sport Exige GT3 becoming eligible for FIA GT3 competition. This latest FIA series, which will start in 2006, is for race cars that have an equal power to weight, and that have a direct lineage to their road going versions.
The Lotus Sport Exige GT3 entrant has been developed by Lotus Sport, the performance arm of Lotus Cars and is a derivative of the standard Lotus Exige coupé model. Weighing in at approximately 750 kg, it stays true to the 'performance through light weight' core Lotus philosophy. The car uses a race prepared 1.8 2ZZ-GE VVTL-i engine with a Roots type supercharger and air to air intercooler which utilises the Lotus T4e Engine Control Únit to produce 285 hp (289 PS) at 7,800 rpm. This gives an impressive power to weight ratio of 380 hp / tonne or 2.6 kg / PS.Following a brief shakedown programme at the Lotus Test Track at Hethel, factory test driver Gavan Kershaw carried out final chassis set up work on wet tyres in the morning session at the Paul Ricard official FIA test. This was followed by an outing on slick tyres on a drying track by FIA nominated test driver Christophe Bouchut.
Commenting on the encouraging test session, Chris Arnold, General Manager of Lotus Sport, explained: 'We were delighted to attend the official FIA test session. Considering the car was still on the drawing board two months ago it's a fantastic achievement by the team to complete the build in such a short time. We knew this test would be a first shakedown for the car on slicks and I'm very pleased with the results. Our winter development programme starts with a wind tunnel test just before Christmas followed by further work in preparation for the next FIA test in March.'
The FIA has announced a five race European championship for the new GT3 class with rounds in the ÚK, Germany, Belgium, France and Italy. Various national GT Championships are also considering amending their regulations to include a GT3 class.
Basic prototype specification
Like the standard Exige, the Lotus Sport Exige GT3 comes complete with the award-winning light weight bonded aluminium chassis. This is complemented by low weight 5-spoke forged alloy wheels, carbon body panels, and a revised high downforce aerodynamic package incorporating a race front splitter and adjustable carbon fibre rear wing.
An FIA 6-point roll cage, ignition kill switches, and uprated braking and suspension systems including Öhlins 3-way adjustable dampers also feature on the new race car. A 6-speed sequential transmission system, and full data logging system have been fitted to the single-seater prototype vehicle.
Availability, full specification, and price of the Lotus Sport Exige GT3 will be announced in early 2006.Source - Lotus Cars
Lotus Sport, the motor sport division of Lotus Cars Ltd., has developed two higher performance versions of the 2006 Model Year Lotus Exige, the Lotus Exige Cup and the Lotus Exige Cup 240, both developed for track use straight out of the box.
The Lotus Exige Cup cars are based on the new 2006 Model Year Exige and are completely track ready sports coupés with uprated clutch, sports exhaust, adjustable suspension, uprated brakes, limited slip differential, switchable traction control, a T45 steel roll-over hoop and Aframe
with harness mounts, fuel and ignition kill switches and a fully plumbed in fire extinguisher system. An FIA approved 6 point roll cage is a no cost option*.
As the names suggest, the Lotus Exige Cup cars are available with two different engine variants. The Lotus Exige Cup uses a 192 PS (189hp / 141kW) and 181Nm four cylinder 1.8 litre 2ZZ VVTL-i engine, and the Lotus Exige Cup 240 uses a supercharged and intercooled high revving 1.8 litre four cylinder engine producing 247 PS (243hp / 181kW) at 8000 rpm and a torque figure of 236 Nm at 7000 rpm.
Performance from both the variants is phenomenal with the Lotus Exige Cup reaching 100 km/h in 5.2 seconds and 160 km/h in 13.2 seconds, with a top speed of 237 km/h. The Lotus Exige Cup 240 reaches the 100 km/h mark in around 4.5 seconds and 160 km/h in 11.3 seconds. Top speed is 249 km/h.**
Both versions are built as official factory conversions of new Lotus Exige cars by Lotus Sport
at its facilities at the Group Lotus Headquarters in Hethel, Norfolk, ÚK. Each car features a
Lotus Sport build plate.
Apart from the differences in engine performance, the Lotus Exige Cup cars have identical
The Lotus Exige Cup uses a 192 PS 2ZZ-GE 1.8 litre VVTL-i (Variable Valve Timing with Lift –
intelligent) engine. This high revving engine is governed to a maximum engine speed of 8500 rpm with a change between two cams (a high speed cam and a low speed cam) at between 5800 rpm and 6200 rpm depending upon the operating conditions of the car.
The supercharged and intercooled engine in the Lotus Exige Cup 240 has a maximum power output of 247 PS (243 hp / 181 kW) at 8000 rpm and a torque figure of 236 Nm at 7000 rpm. This vast amount of extra power and torque now available means that the cam change between the low-speed cam and the high-speed cam now takes place at around 4000 rpm giving a smooth and linear surge of power from 4000 rpm all the way to the maximum 8300 rpm. The Roots-type Eaton M62 supercharger (with a sealed-for-life internal mechanism meaning that it does not require the use of the engine's oil) is run from the crankshaft, and has an integral bypass valve for part load operation. Charge air (air under pressure from the supercharger) is cooled through an air-to-air intercooler (the cooling air enters via the roof scoop) before being fed into the engine itself. All charge air ducting has been kept as short as
possible with large diameter pipes making sure that the bends in these ducts are not too tight,
to the benefit of throttle response and efficiency. Four high capacity injectors add additional fuel
under hard acceleration or high speed driving.
A sports-type clutch plate and heavy duty clutch cover transfers the engine power and torque to the lightweight C64 six-speed gearbox (with an aluminium casing) – with the same perfectly spaced ratios as the standard Elise 111R and Exige.
A torque-sensing type limited slip differential is fitted as standard and works in harmony with the
Lotus switchable traction control system. The system works though the engine, reducing power
to maintain traction, is active above 8 km/h and operates much more quickly than many brake-based
An Accusump (engine oil accumulator unit) is included in the whole package as an oil reservoir
backup for extreme track use ensuring that, under these conditions, the engine oil pressure
remains constant.Wheels and Tyres
Y-type 8-spoke lightweight cast alloy wheels in High Power silver are shod with Lotus specific
Yokohama Advan A048 tyres (rated W and annotated with 'LTS') to maximise grip and achieve the ride and handling targets set by Lotus.
The brake system includes cross-drilled and ventilated discs and upgraded sports brake pads set into the brake calipers (AP Racing on the front and Brembo on the rear), high grade silicon brake fluid, stainless steel braided brake hoses all linked to the proven Lotus track tuned servoassisted
four-channel ABS system that enhances braking performance and minimising stopping distance without taking over from the skill of the driver.Suspension
Suspension is provided by Öhlins springs and two-way adjustable dampers (which have 22
compression and 60 rebound settings and ride height adjustment to reduce the ride height from
130 mm to 120 mm) and an adjustable front anti-roll bar (five settings). Full instructions and
recommended settings are provided to allow customers to tailor the handling characteristics of
the car to their own requirements.
As the Lotus Exige Cup cars are modified for track use, a double shear track control arm brace
is provided to cope with the expected kerb abuse during racing and hard track day driving.Safety Equipment
The Lotus Exige Cup cars have all the safety equipment that is expected for a track car with 4 point seat belt harnesses (for track use only), two sports seats clad in suede-effect material and using ProBax technology, a T45 steel roll-over hoop and A-frame with harness mounts, a mechanical ignition kill switch with cockpit and external activation and a plumbed electrical fire extinguisher system, again with cockpit and external activation. A FIA approved 6-point roll cage is a no cost option, race ready for customers wishing to compete in motorsport activities.Interior
The interior makes use of lightweight and simple race specification materials including aluminium window winders, acrylic capped door panels and carbon-effect leather door inserts.Exhaust System
A 'Level One' stainless steel sports exhaust is fitted with the bifurcated exhaust pipes exiting from the centre of the anodised-finish 3-piece rear diffuser. Front driving lamps, twin oil coolers and air conditioning* complete the equipment package for the Lotus Exige Cup cars.
The Lotus Exige Cup has a Recommended Retail Price of 47,621+VAT in mainland Europe and CHF83,948 including all taxes in Switzerland.
The Lotus Exige Cup 240 has a Recommended Retail Price of £45,995 in the ÚK, 56,034+VAT in mainland Europe, and CHF101,026 including all taxes in Switzerland.Source - Lotus