After making its world premiere at the Frankfurt Motor Show this past September, Lotus Motorsport has taken the Exige R-GT, the Rally version of the new Exige S, out of the nest so it can spread it wings for the first time.

After making its world premiere at the Frankfurt Motor Show this past September, Lotus Motorsport has taken the Exige R-GT, the Rally version of the new Exige S, out of the nest so it can spread it wings for the first time.

Dressed in full rally specification the test occurred just north if Turin, Italy with perfect results. Testing will continue just after the new year ahead of the start of the 2012 FIA World Rally Championship season where the Exige R-GT will contend the FIA GT category on asphalt at events in Monte Carlo, Tour de Corse and San Remo.

Group Lotus Director of Motorsport Claudio Berro said, "When you consider that we've only began working on this car in July, I think what we've achieved in that time has been incredible. For me the Exige S makes the perfect GT rally car, it has an awesome 3.5-litre, supercharged engine, and we've managed to balance the weight perfectly to meet the minimum weight regulations. The shakedown today (23rd December) has only made us even more excited to show off the car in true race form early next year - I think we're doing the Lotus motorsport pedigree proud."

The Exige R-GT is powered by the same 3.5 liter supercharged V6 unit from the Exige S and Evora S producing 350 PS (257 kW / 345 hp) but with changes to the gearbox and restrictions placed on the engine in order to control output and meet FIA GT requirements.

Meanwhile, within a span of 24 hours of the Exige R-GT test Lotus also fired up for the first time the new IndyCar engine at Dallara headquarters in Palma, Italy. Pleased with the overall results, the team have now prepared the engine and car for shipment to the US where full testing will begin in January.

Berro also commented, "The fire up in the car went really well, there were no nasty surprises and I think our partners are going to be very happy with the results. It was only October last year that we announced that we would become an IndyCar engine supplier and just 12 months on, we had an all new Lotus engine and three teams signed up - Bryan Herta Autosport, Dreyer and Reinbold Racing, and HVM Racing. We've still got a lot of work to do ahead of the start of the 2012 IZOD IndyCar season but so far I'm very encouraged by what I see."

Lotus Exige R-GT Rally gets first track test