Lotus unveils Exige GT3 at Geneva

Lotus Sport, the race car performance arm of Lotus Cars Ltd, unveiled the Lotus Exige GT3 concept road vehicle in Geneva this week. The 271 BHP Exige GT3 is the most extreme version of the track car yet. Lotus believes it can deliver more grin-factor than ever before, as there are no intended compromises and no limits except the driver.

The Exige GT3's pure-bred racing brother will be again competing in the GT race arena in 2007,taking over the mantle from the successful 2006 British GT3 Championship car. On road or track the Lotus Exige GT3 winning pedigree will continue the honored Lotus racing tradition.

A new one-piece front clam-shell with fully masked front wheels and wheel arch venting leads the aerodynamically cleaned silhouette of this car.

The supercharged and inter-cooled 1796 cc engine in the Lotus GT3 has a maximum power output of 271bhp at the 8,000 rpm redline, and a torque figure of approximately 190lb/ft at 7,000 rpm. This significant amount of extra power and torque now available together with the VVTL-i variable cam system ensures that power is delivered linearly from low engine speeds up to the redline. The Roots-type Eaton M62 supercharger (with a sealed-for-life internal mechanism so that it requires no use of the engine's oil) is run from the crankshaft and has an integral bypass valve for part load operation. Four high capacity injectors and an up rated fuel pump add additional fuel under hard acceleration or high speed driving.

An Accusump oil accumulator unit is included in the whole package as an oil reservoir back-up for extreme track use ensuring that, under those conditions, the engine oil pressure remains constant. Twin oil coolers complete the power train package.

A sports-type clutch plate and heavy duty clutch cover transfer the engine power and torque to the lightweight aluminum C64 six-speed gearbox - with the same perfectly spaced ratios as the Exige S. An open type limited slip differential is fitted as standard. The Lotus switchable traction control system (LTCS) works through the engine, reducing power to maintain traction; it is active above five mph and reacts much more quickly than many brake-based systems.

Lotus designed lightweight structure of epoxy bonded aluminum alloy extrusions with crash structure, extruded aluminum door beams, integral steel seat-belt support structure and lightweight galvanized steel rear sub frame incorporating a structural shear panel.

GT3 derived one-piece front clamshell and wide track rear clamshell with full length roof scoop design taken from the Cup Exige 255. New full width rear wing with integral end plates mounting to rear clam. Race style front splitter; standard Exige door and body sides retained. It includes a multi-element rear diffuser with carbon fiber option.

Wheels and Tires
Five-spoke lightweight forged alloy wheels (front 7Jx16 and rear 10Jx17) with Lotus Sport specific Yokohama A048 R LTS tires (F: 195/50 R16 and R: 255/40 R17).

The brake system includes 308 mm diameter 2 piece aluminum belled cross drilled and ventilated front discs and 288 mm diameter cross-drilled and ventilated rear discs. AP Racing two-piece radially mounted 4 piston calipers at the front and Brembo single sliding piston at the rear. Pagid RS14 sports brake pads all round, plus high grade silicone brake fluid and stainless steel braided brake hoses. The servo-assisted four-channel ABS system enhances braking performance and minimizes stopping distance without taking over from the skill of the driver.

Fully independent suspension utilizing unequal length wishbones; Öhlins two-way adjustable dampers with coil over springs and Lotus Sport adjustable front anti-roll bar. A rear double shear track control arm brace is provided to cope with the expected kerb abuse during heavy track day driving.

0-60 mph 3.9 seconds (Manufacturer’s estimate)
0-100 mph 9.8 seconds (Manufacturer’s estimate)
Maximum Speed 160 mph -Electronically limited
Max Power 271 BHP at 8000 RPM
Max Torque 190 lb/ft at 7000 RPM

Lotus boss Mike Kimberley said:

"The Exige GT3 concept road car is a fantastic showcase product from our race car performance division, Lotus Sport. The car's racing background becomes immediately obvious from its aggressive stance, extreme width of rear track and innovative three-dimensional rear wing. The foundation of all Lotus products is phenomenal handling and ride characteristics, but the Exige GT3 takes these into another dimension altogether where supreme road holding and outrageous acceleration come evenly matched with sensational stopping ability."

The Exige GT3 will be developed into a production car for limited markets, to go on sale in late 2007 with an estimated price tag of between £50,000 ($96,700) and £60,000 ($116,000).