As if it wasn't hardcore enough, Lotus has sent its roofless, windscreen-less and waif-like 2-Eleven to its in-house performance division Lotus Sport. The end result is a car that's more manic, more focused and a hell of a lot more impractical than before.
Called the Lotus Sport 2-Eleven GT4 Supersport (let's just call it the GT4, shall we?), the product of Lotus Sport's efforts is a fully compliant race car designed around the rules and regulations of the European GT4 Supersports category. That means there's a full cage in place of the regular 2-Eleven's puny roll bar, a rigid tonneau cover where there would normally be space for a passenger, a big carbon fibre rear wing and diffuser out back, a deep splitter up front, HANS-approved and FIA-compliant carbon fibre racing seats and six point harnesses. There is also an on-board fire suppression system to keep the whole lot from combusting.
The differences continue underneath the GT4, with the 2-Eleven's Toyota-sourced 1.8-litre 2ZZ-GE supercharged inline four getting a bump in power from188kW to 199kW, while torque rises from 242Nm to 247Nm. The H-pattern manual of the standard car has also made way for a racing-grade six-speed sequential transaxle, with the engine management software being tweaked to allow for flat-shifting when going up a gear and an automatic blip of the throttle on downchanges.
Even power delivery is assured by a plate-type limited slip differential, while ultra sticky Advan A048 semi-slicks take the 2ZZ's grunt to the tarmac. Suspension is handled by the two-way adjustable Ohlins dampers, stiffer springs and upgraded rear toe links, with the standard 2-Eleven's double-wishbones and suspension geometry carrying over.
Surprisingly, Lotus Sport has elected to retain the standard 2-Eleven's ABS, traction control and launch control systems on the track car, determining their extra weight to be more than compensated for by their ability to add speed.
The whole lot is available for UKÂ£78,255, while certain components can be retro-fitted to standard 2-Elevens. Lotus Sport will only be building 10 cars on the initial production run. All are expected to be ready by March, in time for the 2009 GT4 racing season.
Racebred 2-Eleven Unleashed
The Lotus Sport 2-Eleven GT4 Supersport race car asserts itself at the pinnacle of the 2-Eleven range, combining race winning pedigree with unparalleled handling and balance.
Building on the success of the 2-Eleven road and track variants, Lotus Sport has developed this GT4 Supersport race car to compete in the European SRO GT4 Supersports category.
The Lotus Sport GT4 Supersport pushes the limits to the extreme: wearing a dramatic composite body, full rollcage and with increased power and a sequential gearbox it provides a race winning package. The GT4 Supersport offers an advanced aerodynamic package, with aggressive styling alluding to its searing performance and phenomenal racing potential.
Mike Kimberley, CEO of Group Lotus plc said, "Lotus has an enviable motor racing heritage that includes some of the most successful racing cars in history. We are confident that the 2-Eleven will continue our winning tradition and become a classic of the future. The 2-Eleven GT4 Supersport offers one of the most cost effective, competitive and easiest routes into this level of motorsport".
Lotus Sport has increased the power and torque available in the GT4 Supersport car to 270 PS and 247 Nm from the standard supercharged cars 255 PS and 242 Nm engine. The increases in power and torque have been gained through improved induction and exhaust systems, and with a high ratio supercharger drive system for increased levels of boost. To maximise the upgrades to the engine the engine management system has been remapped and optimised.
Lotus Sport is offering a 6 speed sequential gearbox with a centrally mounted push/ pull lever and gear selector display. The gearbox is integrated with the engine management system to allow flat shifts up through the box and an â€œautoblipâ€ rev matching system on downchange. This transmission offers lightning quick gear changes, shaving those all important tenths off each gear change. A plate type limited slip differential, employed to improve traction out of corners competes the setup.
Chris Arnold, Head of Lotus Sport, said "the GT4 Supersport has some exceptional new features and provides a compelling package that has race winning credentials. This is a hugely exciting new car for Lotus Sport, we have already had good success in mainland Europe with the test car and we are looking forward to our customers successes in the 2009 season".
There will be an initial run limited to 10 cars priced at Â£78 255 MSRP with delivery dates in March ready for the '09 racing season. Some GT4 Supersport features can be retro-fitted to 2-Elevens that have already been purchased, offering increased versatility and allowing owners to upgrade their car as they hone their skills.
The 2-Eleven double wishbone suspension is uprated with stiffer race focused springs and dampers. The dampers are the race proven 2-way adjustable Ohlins units, allowing the handling to be fine tuned for optimum track setup. The rear suspension has been upgraded with the addition of race spec rear toe links. Semi-slick AO48 Yokohama's are fitted as standard.
Another new addition for 2009 is the Lotus manufactured FIA compliant carbon fibre race seats. The Lotus Sport seats are HANS approved and are complimented with a Schroth 6-point race harness. A 70 litre FIA approved bag tank is fitted as part of the GT4 Supersport spec along with a plumbed-in fire extinguisher system. A concession to easier ingress and egress comes in the form of a removable Lotus Sport steering wheel.
The GT4 Supersport has a rigid tonneau cover to improve aerodynamics. The aero package is improved with significant levels of downforce generated by a carbon fibre rear wing and rear diffuser, balanced by a deep front splitter. The GT4 Supersport generates up to 80 kg of positive downforce at 100 mph, which is over 10 % of the cars weight.
The race car retains the excellent sports tuned ABS, variable traction control and launch control systems available on the current 2-Eleven. These race proven systems have been thoroughly tested and give exceptional feel and control in a wide variety of conditions.