Lotus lets you put licence plates on a race car…

Posted on Oct 20, 2017 by

New Lotus Elise Cup 260 is the lightest yet and just in time to celebrate the 70th anniversary of Colin Chapman’s first car

2018 lotus elise cup 260 1

When Anthony Colin Bruce Chapman built his first race car in 1948 he couldn’t have imagined six drivers’ and seven constructors’ Formula 1 world championships that would follow, nor iconic sports cars such as the Seven, Elan, Esprit and more recently the Elise.

Next year the company the he founded will be celebrating the 70th anniversary of Lotus’ beginnings, and the lightest and most hardcore Elise Cup yet will kick off the party. Based largely on the Elise Race 250 race car, the Elise Cup 260 will be limited to just 30 examples worldwide, with each priced at around AED290,000. With carbon fibre everywhere to keep the dry weight down to just 862kg, and 250 horsepower from the four-cylinder supercharged engine, the thing laps Lotus’ Hethel test track an incredible 2.5 seconds faster than the previous Elise Cup 250, with a time of one minute and 32 seconds.

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Thanks to obsessive lightweighting, besides being the lightest Elise Cup yet it’s also the heaviest at speed, meaning it produces 180kg of downforce at over 240km/h. The new vented front wheel arches, carbon fibre front splitter and massive rear wing are key to this.

 Hethel’s team really went to work on this car, shedding 40kg compared to the predecessor model. They found little gains here and there that all add up, like brake discs that save four kilos, and a lithium-ion battery saving nine kilos, but they went to extremes shedding 700 grams from the roll hoop cover and 800 grams from the side sill covers.

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It paid off with a zero to 100km/h acceleration time of four seconds and a power to weight ratio of 290bhp per tonne (dry).

Naturally you can spec your Elise Cup 260 how you want, but Lotus revealed the car in a spectacular new hue for 2018 called Championship Gold, launched to commemorate the famous John Player Special racing colours of the glory days.

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