Lotus Sport Exige GT3 undertakes testing for FIA GT3 European
A prototype of the Lotus Sport Exige GT3 race car was unveiled at
the annual FIA GT Championship presentation ceremony outside the world
famous Casino in Monte Carlo, Monaco on 02 December, 2005. The
following day (03 December 2005), the first test for the car took
place at the high speed Paul Ricard High Tech Test Track in Southern
France under FIA supervision, the first stage in the Lotus Sport Exige
GT3 becoming eligible for FIA GT3 competition. This latest FIA series,
which will start in 2006, is for race cars that have an equal power to
weight, and that have a direct lineage to their road going versions.
The Lotus Sport Exige GT3 entrant has been developed by Lotus
Sport, the performance arm of Lotus Cars and is a derivative of the
standard Lotus Exige coupé model. Weighing in at approximately 750 kg,
it stays true to the "performance through light weight" core Lotus
philosophy. The car uses a race prepared 1.8 2ZZ-GE VVTL-i engine with
a Roots type supercharger and air to air intercooler which utilises
the Lotus T4e Engine Control Unit to produce 285 hp (289 PS) at 7,800
rpm. This gives an impressive power to weight ratio of 380 hp / tonne
or 2.6 kg / PS.
Following a brief shakedown programme at the Lotus Test Track at
Hethel, factory test driver Gavan Kershaw carried out final chassis
set up work on wet tyres in the morning session at the Paul Ricard
official FIA test. This was followed by an outing on slick tyres on a
drying track by FIA nominated test driver Christophe Bouchut.
Commenting on the encouraging test session, Chris Arnold, General
Manager of Lotus Sport, explained: "We were delighted to attend the
official FIA test session. Considering the car was still on the
drawing board two months ago it's a fantastic achievement by the team
to complete the build in such a short time. We knew this test would be
a first shakedown for the car on slicks and I'm very pleased with the
results. Our winter development programme starts with a wind tunnel
test just before Christmas followed by further work in preparation for
the next FIA test in March."
The FIA has announced a five race European championship for the new
GT3 class with rounds in the UK, Germany, Belgium, France and Italy.
Various national GT Championships are also considering amending their
regulations to include a GT3 class.
Basic prototype specification
Like the standard Exige, the Lotus Sport Exige GT3 comes complete
with the award-winning light weight bonded aluminium chassis. This is
complemented by low weight 5-spoke forged alloy wheels, carbon body
panels, and a revised high downforce aerodynamic package incorporating
a race front splitter and adjustable carbon fibre rear wing.
An FIA 6-point roll cage, ignition kill switches, and uprated
braking and suspension systems including Öhlins 3-way adjustable
dampers also feature on the new race car. A 6-speed sequential
transmission system, and full data logging system have been fitted to
the single-seater prototype vehicle.
Availability, full specification, and price of the Lotus Sport
Exige GT3 will be announced in early 2006.