Hiding behind the shadow of the bigger and better 2012 Lotus Exige S at the 2011 Frankfurt Motor Show is Lotus’ brand new Exige R-GT. This new racer marks the brand’s return to the rally world, 30 years after their World Rally Championship victory in the Talbot Sunbeam Lotus. The Exige R-GT will participate in the newly formed FIA GT category of the FIA Rally Championship on asphalt in Monte Carlo, Tour de Corse, and San Remo.
The new Exige R-GT shares the new Exige S model’s mid-mounted, transverse 3.5 liter DOHC V6 VVI-i engine, but power has been brought down to 300 HP because of the 34mm air restrictor required for racing. The Exige R-GT will also have to pack on ballast weight to meet FIA requirements of 1200 kg (2645 lbs).
"With the new R-GT rules in rally, it’s a very interesting time for us to return to the sport. Naturally our approach this time around will be different to when we won the championship with Talbot three decades ago but I think our philosophy is definitely the same, we want to compete and ultimately we want to win. Our new rally car, the Exige R-GT is a dream come true for those who are passionate about GT racing – this will be their car," said Group Lotus’ Director of Motorsport Claudio Berro.
UPDATE 12/28/2011: After its official debut in Frankfurt, the Exige R-GT headed to the Dallara’s headquarters in Varano Melegari, Palma on December 22, 2011 for its first track test under the watchful eye of Group Lotus Director of Motorsport, Claudio Berro, and technicians from the team. According to Lotus, the results were delightful and the team will continue to test the car until the 2012 FIA World Rally Championship season where the Exige will contend in the FIA GT category on asphalt at events in Monte Carlo, Tour de Corse, and San Remo. We have also added new images from the testing days. Enjoy!