Lotus' homologated Exige Cup 260 loses even more weight and gains carbon-fiber body panels, a roof scoop and traction control for the 2009 model year.

Lotus has announced the latest round of updates and upgrades to its homologated Exige Cup 260. For 2009, the race-bred two-seater keeps its 257 horsepower engine, but weight-saving measures have knocked 38kg off of the curb weight. Given Lotus’ lighter-is-better philosophy, it’s no surprise that it focused on dropping mass to increase performance. It’s also no surprise that they were able to find ways to do it in the already ultra-light Exige.

Weight-saving measures include a host of new carbon-fiber panels, including the roof panel, dash top, tailgate, front and rear spoilers, seats and the side intake ducts. A new full-length air scoop is also part of the new roof panel. New lightweight materials are used in the flywheel, rear subframe, battery and supercharger pipes, and the rear window glass has been replaced by a lightweight composite. A set of new ultra-light wheels drops even more weight as well as reducing unsprung weight. And if that wasn’t enough, Lotus also tossed out the carpet, mudflaps, interior mirror and the gas struts for the tailgate, just to grab that extra kilogram of weight savings. The result is a car that weighs just 890kg. As the Exige Cup 260 is homologated for road use in the European Union, buyers can opt to have air conditioning and a sound deadening package reinstalled.

The 2009 Exige Cup 260’s supercharged and intercooled 1.8 liter is unchanged, and produces 257 horsepower (260 PS) at 8000 rpm. Torque is also unchanged, at 174 lb-ft (236 Nm) at 6000 rpm. Response from the six-speed gearbox is quickened by the lighter flywheel. Lotus has added the Launch Control and traction control systems that debuted on the Lotus 2-Eleven to the Exige Cup 260.

This is a bare-bones, high performance vehicle, and only hard-core sports car fans and racers need apply.  The Exige Cup 260 is on sale now, with prices starting at £45,995 in the UK.

Gallery: Lotus Exige Cup 260 Gets Lighter for 2009