The track-only model cuts a serious amount of weight to boost performance over its road-going sibling.
The talented engineers from Hethel have a healthy obsession for removing as much weight as possible from both their road and race cars. Case in point, they’ve managed to find a way to make the recently introduced Exige Sport 380 even lighter. At 1,110 kilograms (2,447 pounds), the road-legal version wasn’t exactly fat to begin with, but now its track-only counterpart has managed to drop below the 1,000-kg mark. Without any fluids in it, the Exige Race 380 tips the scales at a mere 998 kg (2,200 lbs). Go for the optional titanium exhaust system and the weight will drop by a further 10 kg (22 lbs).
Motivation is provided by the same Toyota-derived supercharged 3.5-liter V6 engine with 380 horsepower (hence the model’s name) and 410 Newton-meters (302 pound-feet) of torque as in the Exige Sport 380. While the latter gets a six-speed manual gearbox and an optional six-speed auto, the Exige Race 380 is fitted with an Xtrac six-speed sequential transmission. It also benefits from a cassette-type limited slip differential and features an oil cooler.
Let’s talk performance. The sprint from 0 to 60 mph (96 kph) takes just 3.2 seconds, so it’s three tenths of a second quicker than the more docile road car. If you’re still not impressed, Lotus says the car will do a lap of the company’s Hethel track in 1 minute and 23.5 seconds, or 1.5s faster than the Exige Cup R.
“Thanks to some careful revisions,” the new track toy from Norfolk will generate 240 kg (529 lbs) of downforce at 170 mph (273 kph). It was possible to achieve this performance by installing vents at the front and in the rear bumper to diminish the pressure around the wheels. In addition, a rear-mounted grille boosts air circulation through the engine bay. Lotus has also developed a new front splitter to reduce pressure beneath the car.
Rounding off the upgrades are the ultra-light forged 17-inch front and 18-inch rear wheels with Michelin Pilot Sport Cup 2 tires, AP Racing brakes with forged four-piston calipers, along with a diffuser and bigger rear wing optimizing air flow at the back.
Once you’re inside the thoroughbred race car, you’ll be greeted by a color TFT instrument cluster providing a wide variety of customization screen options. You can even spend more for a professional data analysis software if the standard track data logger and GPS won’t cut it. Without any options, the Exige Race 380 costs £99,500 (about $122,100 / €114,762) before value added tax. Lotus is already taking orders.
Gallery: Lotus Exige Race 380
LOTUS EXIGE RACE 380: FIRST CLASS IN COMPETITION
• Race only version of sensational Exige Sport 380
• 375 hp and 410 Nm
• Weight cut to just 998 kg dry
• 0-60 mph in 3.2 secs
• Laps Hethel 1.5 seconds quicker than Exige Cup R
• Aerodynamic downforce boosted to 240 kg
Unapologetic, uncompromising and built to win, Lotus has announced the development of the mighty Exige Race 380 - the track-only sibling of what has been hailed as one of the marque’s most significant and sensational cars, the critically acclaimed Exige Sport 380.
Combining Lotus’ vehicle development skills with its motorsport pedigree, the class-leading competition car will set the pace when the first production cars reach owners in May 2017. As part of the current Exige’s development cycle, the Race 380 will become the race car of choice for teams as well as privateers for the 2017 / 2018 season.
Taking one of the world’s best supercars, the Exige Sport 380, the new model provides the ultimate in race-bred engineering and comes with a host of competition-focused components as standard.
Gearbox, suspension, aerodynamics and electrical systems are among the items that have been modified to reflect the car’s role but, despite the fact that the new Race model is not available in a road-legal specification, the majority of the original car’s configuration is retained, thanks to the Exige Sport 380’s highly advanced development.
Unveiled late last year, the Lotus Exige Sport 380 has proved to be one of Lotus’ most successful new models in recent years, with orders for the next four months’ production already allocated.
Jean-Marc Gales, CEO of Group Lotus plc, commented: “The Lotus Exige Sport 380 is a real giant slayer on the road, and one of the quickest A to B supercars around. It gave us the ideal platform from which to develop the new Exige Race 380 - a peerless competition car designed to beat the best. By setting its weight below 1000kg, its power to weight is unsurpassed in its class. When lapping Hethel, it’s a phenomenal 1.5 seconds faster than the previous Exige Cup R - a massive performance gain. It’s an unparalleled race car that follows the philosophy of Colin Chapman and we can’t wait for customers to experience its capabilities.”
The Lotus Exige Race 380 in more detail
In keeping with its name, the new Exige Race 380 includes a wide range of competition-orientated options as standard, covering everything from drivetrain to driver information system – all designed to increase the car’s capabilities. Developed to be eligible for the world-wide Lotus Cup series and a number of clubman championships, this race car is every inch a winner.
Retaining the race-proven 3.5-litre supercharged V6 engine, the Exige Race 380 boasts 375 hp at 6,700 rpm and 410 Nm (302 lbft) of torque at 5,000 rpm. However, in order to extract every ounce of performance, the car comes with an Xtrac 6-speed sequential transmission, oil cooler, and cassette-type plate limited slip differential, and is operated by carbon paddles located behind the steering wheel. Opting for the full exhaust system in titanium removes a further 10 kg from beyond the rear axle. Extremely quick off the line, the Exige Race 380 sprints from 0-60 in just 3.2 secs, and laps the Hethel track in an outstanding 1 minute 23.5 seconds - the fastest ever for an Exige.
Generating even more downforce from the car’s aerodynamics, the Race 380 produces a phenomenal 240 kg at 170 mph, thanks to some careful revisions. Vents are incorporated into the front bodywork and rear bumper to reduce pressure around the wheels and increase downforce; and a grille mounted at the rear aids air circulation through the engine bay. A new front splitter reduces pressure beneath the Exige, whilst the rear diffuser and larger and a straight-cut motorsport rear wing mounted to the bodywork helps modify airflow at the rear of the car.
Helping the Exige exploit its performance, the Race 380 employs Michelin Pilot Sport Cup 2 tyres as standard (wider 215/45 ZR17 at the front; 265/35 ZR18 at the rear), renowned for their predictable handling and high grip, which are complemented by the car’s ultra-lightweight forged alloy wheels. The same attention to detail has been applied to the brakes, with AP Racing forged, four-piston callipers and grooved two-piece brake disc providing the stopping power.
The Exige has long set the benchmark for handling and, to ensure it remains perfectly poised and agile, the Race 380 uses a revised suspension configuration, incorporating 2-way adjustable Öhlins dampers and adjustable front and rear anti-roll bars. This, together with the Lotus Traction Control System, where the amount of wheel slip can be adjusted by the driver from the cockpit, allows owners to fine tune the vehicle’s handling characteristics.
The Exige Race 380 features a full, integrated roll cage, lightweight FIA Carbon driver seat (HANS compatible) and a six-point harness, as well as ultra-lightweight polycarbonate side windows, competition specification fire extinguisher, battery isolator and front and rear motorsport towing eyes. An ultra-lightweight carbon fibre motorsport specific louvered tailgate panel is fitted over the engine and carbon fibre air intake pods are fitted to either side of the car forward of the rear wheels. As with other race cars in the Lotus range, headlamps are replaced by matt black covers and airbags are not included in the specification.
Helping the driver stay on pace, the new Exige Race 380’s colour TFT instrument cluster offers numerous user customisable and programmable screen configurations. Incorporating a track data logger and GPS unit, owners have the opportunity to upgrade this logger with professional data analysis software.
As well as being designed to win, the Exige Race 380 looks exceptional and retains many of the hand-made carbon-fibre components from the Exige Sport 380 including the front inspection cover, hard top and diffuser surround.
The Exige Race 380 is available to order now, priced £99,500 excluding VAT.