To mark the 50th anniversary of its famous Hethel, Norfolk factory firing into life, Lotus has conceived the Elise Race 250, a car it describes as its best track-focused Elise since the model's launch back in 1996.
The Elise Race 250 is faster around Lotus's test track than even the Elise Cup 220 R and with a lap time of just 1 minute 33.5 seconds, it is the quickest lap the company has ever recorded for a customer car based on the Elise.
"Lotus was established to build race cars and with 68 years' experience, no one knows more about extracting the best performance possible," said 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."
To make the Race 250 perform so well on the track yet still remain eligible for FIA race series around the world, Lotus has turned to weight saving rather than to engine mods. The car features the now familiar four-cylinder 1.8-liter supercharged 243hp engine aligned to a six-speed manual transmission. And in a car that tips the scales at under 900kg dry (i.e., when void of fluids and fuel) that's more than enough power.
To get the weight that low -- the Elise Cup 250 is 931kg for example -- everything for the aluminum chassis to the battery have been overhauled to cut unnecessary kilos. The seats are carbon fiber, the wheels forged from an ultra lightweight alloy and the headlamps replaced with blanking panels.
However, Lotus has also added several serious features. The first is a serious aero package that generates up to 155kg of downforce when the car is traveling at its top speed of 248km/h.
Then there's the FIA compliant A-Frame harness bar, roll cage, fire extinguisher system, towing eyes (front and rear) and battery isolator system in case of fire.
And so that owners can tune the car's set-up to suit the circuit, conditions or simply their driving style, the front anti-roll bar is adjustable, as are the Nitron dampers and Eibach coaxial coil springs. The finishing touches are AP Racing twin-piston front calipers on the front and Brembo single-piston rear calipers on the back for breaking.
The Elise Race 250 will cost £53,500 in the UK and $76,200 (excluding local taxes) in the US.