Posts Tagged ‘Lotus’
The Lotus Exos T125 is an F1 race car in all but a few ways. The company’s building twenty five of ’em, selling each for a cool $1 million and forming a private racing league for the owners. Totally. Awesome. Think of the Lotus Exos program as the most brilliant F1 development strategy in history. Lotus is returning to F1, having announced their new F1-car and begun development testing already. The competition is fierce though, and development costs for the series are phenomenal, so what if there was a way to offset the cost and get some additional development while not breaking F1’s testing ban? That’s basically the Exos. Of course, that’s not the “official” story, but a wink’s as good as a nod.
The 1,433 lb Exos is an all carbon fiber F1-style race car fitted with a 650 HP Cosworth V8 with a blistering 10,300 RPM red line, an on-board starter, and a (get this!) 2,800-mile tear down schedule. That’s like sending the space shuttle up a half-dozen times before servicing it. As awesome as the machine is, the really slick part is the program surrounding it. Lotus will be forming the “Exos Club,” something that might be considered the greatest owner’s experience ever conceived.
The Exos Club’s perks read like every racing fantasy you’ve ever had. The owners will go through rigorous drivers training managed by a collection of engineers, race drivers, mechanics and physical trainers and physicians. The owner will be honed into a legitimate racing driver in not just the mental but the physical. Then, beginning in 2011, Lotus will put on five races for the owners across Europe.
The new Lotus Esprit is due in 2012 and might use a Toyota powerplant, continuing Lotus and Toyota’s relationship in powertrain sharing. While the Elise and Exige use Toyota’s 1.8-liter I-4 and the Evora uses Toyota’s 3.5-liter V-6, expect the Esprit to use something more along the lines of the Lexus LF-A’s 500-hp V-10.
The original Lotus Esprit was available with everything from a normally aspirated four-cylinder engine to a twin-turbo V-8 at the end of its life. It seems Lotus is coming out swinging with the next Esprit due in 2012 by possibly offering the [unlaunched] Lexus LF-A’s 500-hp V-10.
Lotus’ flagship supercar would compete directly with the Audi R8 5.2 FSI and its Italian cousin, the Lamborghini Gallardo. Using the V-10 would certainly raise Lotus’ profile from the maker of some wicked street-legal track monsters into the realm of true supercars.