Lotus has lots up its sleeve here in Geneva. Last night, the company released info on the plug-in hybrid concept it's showing off. The green dealie is the product of a partnership between it and parent, Malaysia's Proton. But for sheer sexification, you can't do much better than its other, more sporting display-case bait. That is, the Exige GT3 concept road car. A product of Lotus Sport, Lotus's performance arm, the GT3 is a prototypical offshoot of the company's GT3 racing efforts. And it's not a bad idea to attract attention to your racing program by building a roadgoing model that uses many of its counterpart's, er, parts. That includes the powertrain, a supercharged 271-hp version of the Exige's 1.8-liter Toyota-sourced firebrand, with twin oil coolers. The GT3 also gets 10" rear wheels with 255 width tires. Zero to sixty happens in under four seconds and V-max is reached at 160 mph. Uprated brakes and a new aero kit complete the package. No word on production yet, but who could possibly bet against something like that?
Press Release (vitals):
The supercharged and intercooled 1796 cc engine in the Lotus GT3 has a maximum power output of 275 PS (271 bhp / 203 kw) at 8000 rpm and a torque figure of approximately 258 Nm (190 lb/ft) at 7000 rpm. This significant amount of extra power and torque now available together with the VVTL-i variable cam system ensures that there is a smooth and linear surge of power from low engine speeds all the way to the maximum 8000 rpm. The Roots-type Eaton M62 supercharger (with a sealed-for-life internal mechanism meaning that it does not require the 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 (engine 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 powertrain package.
A sports-type clutch plate and heavy duty clutch cover transfer the engine power and torque to the lightweight aluminium 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 8 kph (5 mph) and reacts much more quickly than many brake-based systems.
Lotus designed lightweight structure of epoxy bonded aluminium alloy extrusions with crash structure, extruded aluminium 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 full width front splitter; standard Exige door and body sides retained. Multi element rear diffuser with carbon option.
Wheels & Tyres
5-spoke lightweight forged alloy wheels (front 7Jx16 and rear 10Jx17) are shod with Lotus Sport specific Yokohama A048 R LTS tyres (front 195/50 R16 and rear 255/40 R17), designed to maximise grip and achieve the ride and handling targets set by Lotus.
The brake system includes 308 mm diameter 2 piece aluminium 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. High grade silicone brake fluid; stainless steel braided brake hoses. In addition, the proven Lotus track tuned servo-assisted fourchannel ABS system enhances braking performance and minimises stopping distance without taking over from the skill of the driver.
Fully independent suspension utilising unequal length wishbones; hlins 2-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: 3.9 seconds (estimated)
0-100km/h: 4.0 seconds (estimated)
0-100mph (0-160km/h): 9.8 seconds (estimated)
Maximum Speed 160 mph (257 km/h) - electronically limited
Max Power 275 PS (275 bhp / 203 kw) at 8000 rpm
Max Torque 258 Nm (190 lb/ft) at 7000 rpm (electronically limited)
Lotus Launches Sport Exige GT3 Racer [internal]