Lotus’ Experience With AWD Stretches Back 50 Years, So They Know What They’re Doing On The Evija
Lotus, the legendary race car manufacturer turned sports car maker, unveiled the Evija earlier this year, its first all-electric car and, at the same time, its first hypercar and first AWD road-going model. The luscious beast features four electric motors, one behind each wheel, combining for a mind-boggling (and Pininfarina-beating) output of 1,971 horsepower, making it the fastest British hypercar. While a first in many aspects, it’s actually not the first Lotus where the power reaches all four wheels.
When the Evija was unveiled, showcasing Chinese giant Geely’s clear intention to revive the brand and make it more profitable than ever, most of the automotive world took a step back in awe but not everybody was as impressed by the $2.3 million car that will be built in a limited run of 130 units. We were among the skeptics, questioning whether or not the Evija is a clever way for Lotus to increase its revenue by building something it has never built before. We’ve also questioned the sudden move from ICE-powered cars to EVs without prior introduction of any hybrid model. But one area where Lotus does have some past experience is that of four-wheel-driven cars.
Back in the ’60s, when teams were racing on track to win races and off-track to build the cars capable to win those races, Lotus thought it could come up with a more maneuverable car than everybody else and that’s when the idea of having a system that would dispatch power to all four wheels instead of just two emerged. Sure, it’s nothing like the AWD technology on the Evija but, at least, Lotus can say it did build such cars in its storied past.
The 2020 Lotus Evora GT4 Concept Previews The Official 2020 Race Car
The Lotus Evora has been around for a fair few years, hasn’t it? It was introduced a decade ago and, since then, not much has changed about what was Evo Magazine’s Car of the Year in 2009. Now, however, Lotus tries to remind us that the Evora is yet to kick the bucket by introducing a revised GT4-spec racing version. The Evora GT4 Concept is also a way for Lotus to announce that it’s launching the Lotus Driving Academy in China and will go on a tour with its new Chinese works drivers to showcase the car’s prowess.
For starters, let me tell you this isn’t really a concept - not like, say, the Volkswagen I.D. Roomzz is a concept. I mean just look at it, for all intents and purposes it looks ready to race. It doesn’t have cartoonishly large wheels or anything that could be considered out of order on a racing car. What it is, is the updated version of the Evora Cup GT4. The Cup GT4 model was based on the 2009 Lotus Evora Type 124 Prototype that previewed Lotus’ambitions to return to GT-based endurance racing. Now, the Evora looks meaner than ever, and we may see it race Stateside too, as well as in Europe.
2017 Lotus Elise Race 250
Now entering its second decade in production, the Lotus Elise is simply one of the most capable speed machines on the planet, as evidenced by the numerous platform iterations (Tesla Roadster, Hennessey Venom GT, etc.) and high-spec track day specials that have sprung up over the years. Now, Lotus is offering its most hardcore track-oriented Elise to date, and it’s called the Race 250. The number is a reference to the car’s blown 1.8-liter output figures, which are complemented by a slew of standard performance options, including a race-ready interior, full aerodynamics, adjustable suspension, and a fiber-rich diet. And, as luck would have it, it’s coming to the U.S.
According to Jean-Marc Gales, CEO of Group Lotus plc., “The Elise Race 250 is the fastest, most focused Elise we’ve ever produced and, judging by what it’s capable of on track, it looks set to become a favorite with our racers around the world.”
Backing Gales’ claim is the Race 250’s 1:33.5 lap time around Lotus’ Hethel test track, a time that bests the Elise Cup 220 R by a full half-second and secures the 250’s spot as the fastest racing Elise that Lotus has ever developed.
So what exactly makes this mighty little giant slayer so darn potent? Read on for the details.
Continue reading to learn more about the Lotus Elise Race 250.
Usually, when you think about Lotus founder Colin Chapman, the first thing that comes to mind is innovation. It’s easy to see why as that was the business Chapman was in, the brilliant designer always looking for ways to improve his cars’ performance – usually at the cost of reliability and even safety. This philosophy was carried over when Chapman decided he should start building road cars. The first one, named the Elite (Type 14), was a small but competent two-seater which was, sadly, pulled down by certain choices made in the design department, which meant that the overall quality of the car was not quite deserving of the its own name.
It’s obvious that when you employ a number of innovations into a new product, for example the glass-reinforced-plastic monocoque, it’s bound to take off the ground somewhat harder. The trouble is that some of the Elite’s flaws carried on all the way towards the end of production which ceased in 1963. At that time, little over 1,000 had been produced, but Lotus saw the potential of dropping the GRP monocoque design and returning to a more traditional body-on-chassis construction for the Elite’s follow-up, the Elan. That marked the end of the original Elite’s lifespan but the name would be later revived, although its use for a 2+2 grand tourer always struck as somewhat peculiar.
Away from the road, the Elites featured prominently in circuit racing, both at club and professional level. This comes as no surprise considering that Lotus was heavily involved in racing and used certain Formula 2 components in the building process of the Elite. The car was so good in fact that it won its class at Le Mans no fewer than six times, adding to countless other victories all across the world.
Continue reading to learn more about the Lotus Elite.
You can’t buy much for a dollar these days, but Renault has amazingly proved otherwise. The automaker just purchased a 90-percent stake in the Lotus Formula One race team for a mere £1, or roughly $1.50.
The Lotus F1 team’s former owners, Genii Capital and Gravity Motorsports continue to hold the other 10 percent stake. However, in order for Genii to sell its majority stake in the team, it had to purchases 6,744,444 shares from Whiterock Allicance Ltd., which then allowed the company to give £98.2 million of shareholder loans to Lotus.
The business behind the purchasing is rather complicated, but will allow the Lotus F1 team to continue to operate thanks to the investments and debt relief that came with the acquisition. Lotus’ F1 team had long been searching for an investor that would help pay off its debts and allow for continued operation.
It seems Lotus lucked up with Renault coming in. The automaker has four F1 drivers’ titles under its belt, thanks to drivers Michael Schumacher and Fernando Alonso.
It will be interesting to see how the Lotus F1 team does this upcoming season. Stay tuned to TopSpeed for future news.
Continue reading for the full story.
Today’s Formula One statistics may be dominated by seven-time World Champion Michael Schumacher, but most enthusiasts still look back on the golden days of F1 when asked to nominated the greatest-ever F1 driver. Jim Clark is often included among the best, particularly because at the time of his death he had won more Grand Prix races and achieved more pople positions than any other driver. His legacy includes two F1 World Championships, two podiums at the 24 Hours of Le Mans, and, more importantly, the ability to drive just about any type of vehicle, from single-seaters to rally cars and track-prepped saloons. He was Britain’s own Mark Donohue.
Although the world of motorsport lost Clark nearly 50 years ago, he is still celebrated around Europe with heavy support from the Jim Clark Trust. In 2015, the trust marked the 50th anniversary of Clark’s second F1 World Championship title — achieved in 1965 with Team Lotus — during a special event in Britain. Among other activities, the organizers showcased Clark’s Lotus 25, which he drove from 1962 through 1965, and invited Sir Jackie Stewart to drive it in honor of his former rival and friend. There’s no actual racing footage as Stewart only paraded the Lotus in front of those attending the event, but those of you who like 1960s F1 cars and their V-8 engines should find the footage enticing.
Click the play button above to watch 75-year-old Stewart drive one of the sports most iconic cars.
Last year’s FIA World Endurance Championship was a disappointing venture for the German racing team Kodewa and its Lotus race cars, as both of its LMP2 cars were seized following financial issues. Even after that embarrassing moment, they aren’t willing to give up just yet. In fact, Colin Kolles and his crew were brave enough to step up to the LMP1 class after spending two seasons in the lower LMP2 tier.
Things didn’t go as planned so far, with a late engine switch resulting in delays that caused the team to miss the first two rounds of the season and withdraw from the 24 Hours of Le Mans race that’s set to start on June 14th, 2014. Thankfully, Kodewa solved its issues and the Lotus T129 traveled to the Circuit de la Sarthe to meet its fans, but it will not participate in the race.
Since we’re talking about a race car, the full details are under wraps, but we do know that the Lotus T129 will fight its way through the LMP1-L class, which is reserved to prototypes not using hybrid technology, with help from a twin-turbo, V-6 engine developed by AER. The new unit replaces an Audi-sourced, naturally aspirated V-8.
The new race car will begin testing shortly after this weekend’s race and debut at the 6 Hours of Circuit of the Americas in Austin, Texas on September 20, 2014. Opposition in the LMP1-L class will come from two Toyota-powered racers operated by Rebellion Racing. The Lotus T129 will be driven by Christijan Albers, Pierre Kaffer and Christophe Bouchut.
Click past the jump to read more about the 2014 Lotus T129 LMP1.
Lotus has announced the launch of a new track-only model based on the new Elise S. The new model, which is called the Elise S Cup R, will enter the 2014 Lotus Cup series in different countries around the world. This new race is priced from £39,125 (about $62,700) in Europe and $66,650 in the U.S.
The Elise S Cup R is powered by the same mid-mounted, 1.8-liter 2ZR-FE engine found in the Elise S, but with updates needed for the race track. The engine features a Magnuson R900 supercharger with Eaton TVS technology, and it mates to a six-speed manual gear box as standard. This allows the Elise S Cup R to put down 217 horsepower and 181 pound-feet of torque — the same as the stock Elise S.
The new Elise S Cup R rides on forged alloy wheels wrapped in Yokohama Advan Neova tires sized 175/55R16 up front and 225/45R17 on the rear. Lotus also installed a new TCA suspension kit and a new high-performance brake system with twin-piston, fixed aluminum-alloy front brake calipers, 288-by-26 mm (11.3-by-1.02-inch) rotors, and single-piston, sliding rear calipers.
Inside, the Elise S Cup R gets your typical racing equipment, like a roll cage, fire extinguisher, six-point harness, HANS-compliant racing seat, quick-release wheel and a polycarbonate rear window.
Click past the jump to read more about the Lotus Elise S Cup R.
Update 11/12/2013: Lotus has just revealed to us that the Elise S Cup R will be imported to the U.S. at a price just over $66k, though the road-going variant is not available here.
This weekend was a very successful one for the Lotus Racing Team, as Kimi Räikkönen scored the first victory for the team during the first round of the FIA 2013 World Championship Formula One race in Melbourne, Australia.
According to Lotus officials, Kimi needed to face both the rain and a critical tire strategy. Still, he managed to preserve tire condition, pitting only twice over the 58-lap Albert Park course. What’s more, the fastest lap of the race was his at 1:29.274. This race was the 20th race for Räikkönen and the 81st for the Lotus team.
The race had seven different leaders, but Raikkonen held the lead on 43 of the 58 laps of the race. Fernando Alonso of Ferrari was second and Sebastian Vettel from Red Bull was the third on the finish line.
Next weekend the team will have to face another challenge: the second round of the competition taking place at the Sepang circuit in Malaysia.
Over the past few years, the Formula One hierarchy has three established teams: Red Bull, Ferrari, and McLaren. But if you paid any attention, you might have noticed that a fourth team quietly made a name for itself as the kind of dark horse contender in the next few years.
Led by former F1 champ, Kimi Raikkonen, and Roman Grosjean, Lotus has set its sights on bigger things in 2013. To kick off their run to the top of the leaderboard, the British-based F1 outfit unveiled their prized steed for the 2013 season: the E21.
Since there aren’t a whole lot of changes in the series’ regulations, the E21 isn’t too far away from its predecessor in both form and function. On that note, the chassis of the E21 comes with a molded-carbon-fiber and aluminum-honeycomb-composite monocoque that was and designed to ensure maximum strength with minimum weight.
There have also been some slight changes, though, particularly the new suspension layout and the slightly modified front wing that Lotus describes as a "continuation of concepts" dating back to 2009. Additionally, the new Coanda exhaust and the team’s modified passive double DRS system are looked at as two critical adjustments that could catapult Lotus into the ranks of the proverbial big leagues.
It certainly helps that they have one of the best drivers in Formula One in the always affable Raikkonen, who managed to finish 3rd in last year’s Driver’s Championship, despite having been out of Formula One for the past few years. If the E21 proves to be a better ride than the E20, then look for Kimi to make serious noise in the 2013 season.
A tumultuous 2012 has seen Lotus stumble to the brink of being irrelevant. However, the Malaysian-owned British automaker is determined to make amends in 2013, and to their credit, they’re off to a fast start with the upcoming debut of the Exige V6 CupR — a race-spec sports car that’s ready to ply its craft in numerous racing series this year.
The Exige V6 CupR is set to be unveiled at the 2013 Autosport International Show in Birmingham, England. Lotus is bringing the car to the show in an attempt to attract potential entrants to the newly-announced SRO GT4 European Trophy.
As far as we’re concerned, if we had a racing team and we were looking for new race cars, we’d take a real good look at the Exige V6 CupR and see how it’s going to stack up once you get to know more about it.
Speaking of getting to know more about, you can find out more details about the Exige V6 CupR after the jump.
When it comes to small sports cars, very few in the business make it as good as Lotus. Make no mistake, despite their recent bad press, Lotus still knows what it takes to build these babies, and more importantly, race-spec versions of these aforementioned babies.
Take for example their latest toy, the Exige V6 Cup. Making their debuts at the Lotus Festival in Brands Hatch in the UK, the Exige V6 Cup has been touted as the most sinister version of the Exige line. Here’s the best part, the V6 Cup comes in two specs: Track Day and Full-On Competition Spec.
In order to make it about as race-spec as can be, Lotus fitted the Exige V6 with just about every race goodie they could get their hands on. Among the new features include the company’s exclusive Lotus Dynamic Performance Management system, a system that allows the driver to switch between a number of driving modes, including Race, Sport and Touring. From there, the car also gets a new rear diffuser and wing, an aero-optimized front splitter, a multi-adjustable suspension system, a removable steering wheel, HANS-compliant race seats, a choice of 4- or 6-point race harnesses, a racing roll cage, and a fire extinguisher that’s FIA-compliant.
Under its hood, the Exige V6 Cup is powered by a 3.5-liter V6 engine that produces 346 horsepower with a curb weight of 1,080 kg/2,381 lbs, a 0-62 mph of just 3.5 seconds, and a top speed of 170 mph.
Lotus announced that the Exige V6 Cup will be produced by the end of the year with a delivery time by March next year. It will an initial schedule of 20 models.
Despite the multitude of problems Lotus has been having recently, you have to give their racing division some credit for soldiering on with the continued expansion of their motor sports branch. Following in their involvement with Formula One, Indy Car, and Le Mans, among others, Lotus is venturing into new frontier with their entry into the Grand-Am Rolex Sports Car Series.
The American racing series is organized by the same folks behind NASCAR and Lotus is coming in with the intention of being a contender right off the bat. They even have a car that’s primed and ready for action to any racing outfit looking for a ride: the Evora GX.
The Lotus Evora GX is a race-spec model of the sports coupe that has been customized specifically for the rigors of Grand-Am racing. Among the notable new features of the Evora GX include carbon fiber doors, a roof and engine cover, plexiglass windows, and tinted headlights. The car also comes with a new race-spec aero kit with new parts being fitted in including a new front splitter an bumper, a series-required rear wing, and a new set of wider wheels wrapped in Continental racing tires.
Meanwhile, the interior has been stripped of pretty much everything in favor of all the race-spec requirements, particularly the bucket seats, the roll bars, and the race steering wheel.
One other thing about the Evora GX is the noticeable absence of traction control and ABS, which makes racing in it all the more challenging for the driver. At the very least, though, these guys can rely on the car’s 440-horsepower 4.0-liter V6 engine and its Xtrac sequential transmission to make the drive that much more interesting.
Interested teams looking to use the Lotus Evora GX in their Grand-Am exploits will have to shell out $335,000 for one car.
Recently, we haven’t had much good to say about Lotus and trust us, that is not by choice. We actually love Lotus and everything it once stood for in the performance car world. Unfortunately, it has undergone some serious changes and the CEO that it had decided to abandon what we all loved about Lotus.
In addition to the woes that Lotus underwent on the retail car front, it also underwent similar struggles on the racing front. Due to funding issues, its engines fell drastically behind the competition and its newly-signed-up partners all abandoned ship. It’s only two remaining partners ended up finishing dead last in May.
Part of the problem was that due to funding issues, Lotus entered its revised engine plans for approval by INDYCAR too late and it was stuck running its original engines. Well, it looks like the downpour of bad news is starting to dry up for Lotus, as Lotus’ INDYCAR manager, Oliver Picquenot, was quoted saying "Lotus has been working with outside engineering firms, in conjunction with Mr. John Judd and his enterprise.”
This obviously means that INDYCAR has finally given Lotus its much-needed permission to upgrade its engine via its engineering partner Engine Developments Ltd. This should give lotus the chance to at least close the INDYCAR-estimate 2.5 percent gap between its engines and everyone else’s, and Lotus is saying that it expects huge improvements.
So let’s hope for the best here and see if Lotus can make some money off of racing, or at least garner a little interest via finishing better than dead last to help calm its rocky seas.
Just an update, resigned Caterham Managing Director, Ansar Ali, is still a free agent and we already see a good fit between him and Lotus. So we’ll continue to monitor that situation, as well as Lotus’ INDYCAR improvements, as it tries to dig itself out of the hole a certain “someone” put them in…
As always, the Grand Prix of Monaco provided a fairly spectacular showing, likely one of the few in this year’s F1 series. As most would expect, Circuit de Monaco lap-time record holder and five-time winner, Michael Schumacher took the pole position, but officials forced him back five grid positions after he caused a collision during qualifying. With the technical nature of Monaco, that pole position is very important and Schumacher’s penalty was an ominous sign that this would not be a good race, as he retired due to fuel issues 63 laps in.
Schumacher’s penalty propelled Red Bull’s Mark Webber into the pole position. Webber held onto that pole position, despite a lead change during a pit stop, and took home the checkered flag on a rain-coated Circuit de Monaco. As we said in our preview of the 2012 Grand Prix of Monaco, this race had some serious overall points influence, as the leaders were only separated by a few points each.
This victory for Webber places propels him up to a second place tie with Sebastian Vettel at 73 points and puts Fernando Alonso, who finished third, in the points lead at 76. An impressive run by Nico Rosberg placed him in second, just behind Webber, proving that his wide margin of victory in China was not just a one-time deal. This superb finish by Rosberg jumps him up two slots to fifth place overall.
From the looks of it, this season is shaping up to be a rather close points race with a few new faces near the top. Unfortunately, the leader board, for the most part, looks identical to the 2011 and 2010 seasons. The lack of parody in F1 has really been its Achilles heel in recent history. An overall points victory by Nico Rosberg would certainly be a push in the right direction for F1, so we’ll keep a close eye on his performance.
Click past the jump to see the complete placement board for the 2012 Grand Prix of Monaco and the overall points standings.
Lotus Racing has announced the new Evora GTC that will compete in America’s Grand-Am road races: the Rolex Sports Car Series. The car will be driven by British drivers Richard Adams, David Green, and Martin Byford.
The new Evora GTC is based on the Evora GT4 from which it borrows most of the components. However, the GTC is a much lighter model thanks to its new carbon-fiber doors, roof, and engine cover in fiber glass, as well as Plexiglass windows. The car has also been equipped with traction control, BOSCH Anti-Lock Brakes, and a new set of 18" wheels mated to 27/65-18 tires at the front and 30/65-18s at the rear.
Under the hood, the Evora GTC gets the usual 4-liter V6 engine with an output of 450 HP and 324 lbs-ft of torque, linked to an XTRAC six-speed sequential paddle-shift.
"The GTC is quicker than the GT4 Enduro even though the Powertrain remains the same. We’ve managed to reduce the weight, and added ABS and traction control. Wider wheels mean customers now have a much greater selection of tyres they can use, the flared wheel arches accommodate this, which gives the car its visual definition and makes it look more muscular without hampering the aero," said Louis Kerr, senior motorsport engineer, Group Lotus.
Lotus’ involvement in auto racing has resulted in a storied Formula 1 resume that includes six Drivers’ and seven Constructors’ World Championships. But for all of its achievement in Formula 1, the British automaker also has a World Rally Championship under its belt.
After a long absence in the world of rally racing, Lotus is returning to the dirt for the FIA European Rally Championship with a specially designed Exige R-GT.
Dressed in its iconic black and gold color scheme, the Exige R-GT Rally Race Car will be powered by a 3.5-liter DOHC V6 VVI-i engine that produces 300 horsepower. Seeing as the car is being built for rally racing, Lotus made some tweaks to adhere to FIA regulations, particularly the reduction in output.
According to Claudio Berro, Lotus’ racing director, the Exige R-GT FIA Rally Car will be the first GT car to be homologated by the FIA. "Lotus, of course, has been successful in rallying before, so in many ways we’re going back to our roots," he adds.
The Exige R-GT will see its first testing action before heading over to the customary FIA homologation process. Should everything go according to plan, we can expect to see it make its debut at the Mille Miglia rally on April 19-21, 2012, leading to its participation in special rally stages at the FIA European Rally Championship.
A week after a forgettable fourth episode, Top Gear bounces back with a pretty entertaining penultimate episode that featured a review on the new Jensen Interceptor, a track day for Jeremy Clarkson with the Lotus Exos Type 125 race car, Bob Geldof as the guest celebrity, and a military house destruction challenge.
Comparing it to the previous show, the content for this week was a lot better, but in a weird twist, the show only had 59 minutes on it - the regular slot usually lasts for 62 to 63 minutes - because, apparently, BBC wanted to show the MotoGP race exactly on time.
That became a running gag during the whole episode as Hammond and May kept speeding up Clarkson in order to fill out the entire episode in the 59 minutes they were given.
In the end, the military destruction challenge proved to be the most entertaining segment of the episode - we’d argue that it’s the best one all year, too - filled with child-like shenanigans from the three hosts that make us love the work they’re doing.
Some people might slam them for wasting their precious time on something so inane, but if you were walking in their shoes, you’d be having a ball of time using military vehicles in trying to put down a cement house.
Details on Top Gear Season 17: Episode 5 after the jump
Lotus has been a hot topic in the news ever since their astounding resurgence into the sports-car world. The company has decided to move its racing ambitions further along as it has unveiled the Evora Enduro GT Concept car at the 2011 Geneva Auto Show. It was interesting to learn that last year the company had struck a deal with Renault to back its racing team and help with development. Lotus joining F1 racing may be more than a few years off, but this company clearly has big plans. After being rather lethargic during the 1990’s and almost fading away into the night with the Esprit dying out – the company has made drastic changes behind its fearless new leader and is poised to offer several new models within the coming years. With such an emphasis on road-going performance, it was only a matter of time before a racing car was developed.
More details on the Lotus Evora Enduro GT Concept after the jump.