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Mike Stevens | Apr 6, 2009

The 2009 Targa Tasmania will mark the worldwide tarmac rally debut of Lotus' performance orientated Exige Cup 260.

Piloted by motoring scribe Dean Evans, the car will race largely in showroom trim, with the only addition being a roll cage.

Other factory installed features include fully adjustable suspension and AP Racing brakes.

Lotus Exige 260 Targa Tasmania

Weighing a total of 890kg - five percent less than Lotus' previous standard bearer, the Exige S - the Cup 260 makes use of an extensive list of lightweight components including carbon fibre body panels, a roof scoop and front splitter.

Lotus has also made significant improvements to lift the Cup's power output, with the car boasting an extra 29kW after modifications to the exhaust and ECU systems, while it accelerates from 0-100km in a sprightly 4.1 seconds.

Lotus Exige 260 Targa Tasmania

Lotus Cars Australia General Manager Jonathan Stretton believes the company's decision to unleash the Cup 260 upon the Apple Isle underlines its determination to remain true to Lotus's substantial racing heritage.

"With a number of Lotus Elise and Exige vehicles competing in recent years, we thought Targa Tasmania was perfect timing and an ideal platform to showcase the Cup 260,” he said.

“It's been 10 years since a Lotus Elise finished third outright at Targa, so the time was right to show that we are still committed to core Lotus values. Being the Cup 260's global tarmac rally debut makes it even more special.

"Sporting an advanced traction control system, Lotus is convinced the car will revel in the tight twisting environment of the Targa."

With the Cup 260 retailing in showrooms at a tick under $140,000, it appears the event will form a core pillar of Lotus' marketing strategy of emphasising the company's sporting credentials - a tactic that may help it survive the current economic mess. You've got to hope so (it's gotta be hard for small manufacturers right now).

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