What happens when you take one Lotus Exige S, bolt in the most powerful four-cylinder engine ever fitted to a Lotus production car and then wrap the whole thing in a carbon-fibre body? You get the Lotus Exige Cup 260, that's what.
The Exige 260 Cup is a fully-fledged race car for the road and weighs in at a featherweight 890kg. Couple that lithe body with a supercharged and intercooled 192kW (260hp) 1.8-litre Toyota-sourced engine, and the Exige S will do the 0-100km/h run in a supercar-quick 4.1 seconds.
While the interior is hardly what you'd call luxurious, the inclusion of air-conditioning as standard equipment means you could feasibly use this thing as a road car.
You'll soon forget about creature comforts when you slip in the carbon-fibre racing seats though. The pews are compatible with five and six point harnesses, as well as a HANS device (Head And Neck Safety restraint).
There's also a 2kg fire extinguisher and a remote internal safety disconnection for the battery, both of which can be activated from outside the car.
Lotus has also integrated a rear roll hoop into the body structure to allow for the easy fitment of a full cage.
Bilstein shocks with Eibach springs take care of suspension duties, while an adjustable anti-roll bar and a double-shear track control-arm brace handle the stress of kerb-hopping.
Lotus has mixed it up in the braking department with two-piece AP Racing calipers squeezing cross-drilled and ventilated 308mm rotors up front, while Brembo calipers clamp down on 282mm rotors out back. ABS also comes fitted as standard.
If you're interested in getting behind the wheel you'll need a cool AUD $139,990 (plus on roads) to get started, but you do get a very capable car for the cash.
Think of it this way: the Exige Cup 260 is virtually race-ready straight out of the box. Add a full rollcage and harness, buy yourself a racing suit and helmet and you're ready to attack a number of racing categories: from Targa Tasmania to the Australian GT Championship.
For more information, check out Lotus's extensive press-release below.
Lotus Exige Cup 260 - Motorsport Made Easy
* Road registered, race focused Lotus Exige S
* Supercharged 192kW engine
* 0-100km/h in 4.1 seconds
* Carbon fibre body parts and other weight saving components
* Total mass of 890kg
Carbon fibre and lightweight components combine to offer the most powerful and lightest road and race Lotus Exige ever in Australia.
Lotus Cars Australia has announced that the motorsport focused version of the Exige S is now available in Australia. Featuring the most powerful four-cylinder engine ever fitted to a Lotus production car, along with extensive use of carbon fibre and weight saving, the Lotus Exige Cup 260 is the star performer in the road-going Lotus range.
The Lotus Exige Cup 260 represents the pinnacle of Lotus road capability, designed to be perfectly at home on road, the racetrack or even competitive organised motorsport; the Exige Cup 260 is the very definition of a race car for the road.
Following demand for a car with dual abilities, Jonathan Stretton, General Manager of Sales & Marketing for Lotus Cars Australia has secured a small number of these road racer Cup 260 models for the Australian market : 'Lotus has always had a strong link to motorsport that reaches back to the 1960s when it was a force in Formula 1. The line between road and race has been diminishing over the years and in the Cup 260 we have an all-purpose car that continues the tradition of light weight, outstanding performance and versatility.
'The Cup 260 will satisfy a range of users who want the utmost from a performance car in regard to speed, power and useability. A number of our customers have suggested they wanted a car that could be used on road, on the track and, with minimal amendments, in Australian Motorsport events too. The Cup 260 provides the answer. This is the first time the Cup 260 version has been made available in Australia and forms part of the 2009 range. Priced at just $139,990, the Lotus Exige Cup 260 performs better than exotic supercars two and three times its price.
The new Lotus Exige Cup 260 is eligible for a wide range of Motorsport in Australia, from key tarmac rally events including Targa Tasmania to the Australian GT Championship.
Standard race safety equipment includes high-sided and HANS-compatible (Head And Neck Safety restraint) carbon fibre racing seats designed with a central cut-out to accept a crotch harness strap for five- and six-point safety harness mounting. The seats are finished in Microfibre material. The cabin also features a 2kg fire extinguisher and a remote internal safety disconnection for the battery (there is also an external disconnection for the battery and an extinguisher activation point). A main rear roll cage hoop integrated into the body structure allows easy fitment of an A-frame and FIA approved front roll-cage for Motorsport event use.
The Exige Cup 260 exploits the Lotus philosophy of using weight reduction to increase performance and reduce emissions.
The Cup 260 uses advanced lightweight components and carbon fibre elements to reduce overall weight from an Exige S by 45kg, bringing the total to just 890kg.
Maximum power output of 192kW (260PS) ensures the 2009 Exige Cup 260 provides the most agile and dynamic track focused drive of any Exige sold in Australia.
Colin Chapman, the founder of Lotus is attributed as saying 'Adding power makes you faster on the straights; adding lightness makes you faster everywhere". This statement is more relevant today than it ever has been; decreasing weight not only increases a car's performance, it also improves efficiency.
The Exige Cup 260 follows this philosophy closely. Weight-saving carbon fibre components take 12kg from the standard Exige S and include:
* Full carbon fibre roof panel
* Carbon fibre FIA and HANS compliant driver and passenger bucket seats finished in Microfibre.*
* Carbon fibre one piece dash top panel and door sill covers
* Carbon fibre rear tailgate and front access panels
* Carbon fibre front splitter, rear spoiler and side air intake ducts
Lightweight components fitted to the Cup 260 save a further 22kg and include:
* Lightweight 'motorsport' battery
* Ultra-light 12-spoke forged alloy wheels (finished in Gloss Anthracite)
* Revised rear engine subframe with lightweight coating
* Lightweight flywheel
* Lightweight composite bulkhead panel in place of rear window
* Lightened supercharger U-bend pipes
Other non-essential components and equipment are removed that save another 4kg including interior and boot carpets, front mudflaps, battery cover, sunvisors and rear tailgate gas strut.
For those intending to use the Cup 260 regularly on the road, air-conditioning comes as standard and an interior noise reduction pack is available as an option.
The MY2009 Exige Cup 260 weighs in at just 890kg, giving an impressive weight-to-power ratio of 4.6kg/kW. In addition, the Exige Cup 260 has a formidable list of standard performance focused equipment.
Wheels and Tyres
Ultra lightweight wheels reduce unsprung mass and contribute a total weight saving of approximately 10kg over the light forged Exige wheels.
Tyres are Lotus specific Yokohama A048 LTS tyres to maximise grip and achieve the ride and handling targets set by Lotus Engineering.
Lotus Exige Cup 260 cars are fitted with FIA and HANS compliant carbon fibre lightweight sports seats*, normal 3-point 'Webb Lock' harnesses, with the option of four or six-point harnesses for track use only.
* The seats are FIA compliant when fitted in conjunction with fixed seat runners, sold as a track only dealer fit option.
A high tensile steel roll over hoop allows the fitment of a Lotus Sport A-Frame to which an FIA approved front roll-cage can be attached. The chassis is pre-drilled to fit this front roll cage, with the A-frame and the front cage available through Lotus Sport.*
* The A-frame and the front roll-cage can be fitted at dealer level and are sold for track use only.
Completing the additional safety equipment is an FIA compliant electronic ignition kill switch, with CAMS spec cockpit and external activation, and an FIA compliant plumbed electrically activated fire extinguisher system, again with cockpit and external switches.
Like all current Lotus cars, the Exige Cup 260 is built around a very strong extruded and bonded aluminium chassis tub. Attached to the chassis is a sacrificial energy absorbing composite front structure designed to help absorb crash energy in the event of impact.
Eibach springs, one way adjustable Bilstein dampers and a stiffened and adjustable front anti-roll bar allow customers to tailor the handling characteristics. A double shear track control arm brace is provided to cope with kerb abuse during racing or hard track day driving.
The brake system includes large diameter 308mm two-piece aluminium belled cast iron cross-drilled and ventilated front discs, and 282mm cross-drilled and ventilated discs at the rear. Upgraded Pagid RS14 sports brake pads set into the brake calipers (AP Racing two piece four-piston callipers feature on the front with Brembo sliding callipers on the rear), with stainless steel braided brake hoses. And all linked to the proven Lotus track tuned servo-assisted four-channel ABS system that enhances braking performance and minimises stopping distance without taking over from the skill of the driver.
Performance, Economy and Emissions
Key to the Cup 260's incredible performance is the aerodynamic package, which produces over 40kg of downforce at 160km/h increasing grip and stability at higher speeds. With 0-100km/h in circa 4.1 seconds, 0-160km/h in circa 9.9 seconds and a top speed of circa 245km/h, the 2009 Exige Cup 260 combines exhilarating performance with impressive fuel economy of just 9.1l/100km combined, and CO2 emissions of 216g/km.
The supercharged and intercooled 1.8-litre four-cylinder in the Exige Cup 260 has a maximum power output of 192kW at 8000rpm and 236Nm at 6000 rpm. This significant increase in power and torque together with the VVTL-i variable cam system ensures that there is a smooth and linear delivery of power from low engine speeds all the way to the maximum 8000rpm (8500rpm transient for 2 seconds).
The Roots-type Eaton M62 supercharger (with a sealed-for-life internal mechanism independent of the engine's oil) is run from the crankshaft and has an integral bypass valve for part load operation.
Supercharged air is cooled through an air-to-air intercooler, fed cooling air from the extendedroof scoop. All charge air ducting has been kept as short as possible with large diameter pipes to minimise restriction and maximise throttle response and efficiency. Four high capacity injectors and an uprated fuel pump ensure fuel supply in all conditions.
An Accusump (engine oil accumulator unit) is included to avoid engine oil starvation during extreme cornering.
A lightweight flywheel offers greater flexibility and response to the gear change, with a sports-type clutch plate and heavy duty clutch cover transferring engine power and torque to the lightweight C64 six-speed gearbox through the same perfectly spaced ratios as the Exige S.
A torque-sensing limited slip differential is fitted as standard, and a lightweight motorsport battery saves a significant 5kg, which sits behind the rear axle.
Lotus Launch Control and Lotus Variable Slip Traction Control
Taken straight from the European GT3 program, the Cup 260 uses the Lotus Sport launch control combined with variable traction control. Found on the Lotus 2-Eleven and Lotus Exige Sport 240 models as standard and also available as part of the Performance pack on the Lotus Exige S, launchcontrol allows the driver to select the exact revs for a launch and minimises wheel slip until 10km/h. A clutch damper cushions the severity of the clutch to transmission engagement to minimise the stresses to the drivetrain.
The driver can also select the amount of traction control to suit conditions or corners.
The amount of traction control can be varied in 30 increments from seven percent tyre slip to completely off, with the percentage displayed in the dash.
The Lotus Exige Cup 260 has a high flow, full-length carbon fibre roof scoop as part of the lightweight carbon roof panel, which saves 4kg and ensures efficient cooling air through the intercooler.
Pricing and warranty
The standard specification Lotus Exige Cup 260 is road legal and can be registered for road use. Retail price is $139,990 plus government and statutory charges. The Exige Cup 260 comes with the standard Lotus 2 year limited manufacturer's warranty unless used for competition or timed runs.