Another year, another special-edition Lotus. Say hello to the 2017 Lotus Exige Race 380.
A track-only version of the already-hardcore Exige Sport 380 revealed last November, the new Lotus Exige Race 380 has been specifically developed for race teams and privateers to compete in the marque’s global one-make series, the Lotus Cup, as well as a variety of other clubman championships.
Powered by the Exige Sport 380’s supercharged 3.5-litre V6 engine, the Race 380 matches its base car’s outputs of 280kW of power at 6700rpm and 410Nm of torque at 5000rpm.
However, with a dry kerb weight figure reduced by 112kg (from 1110kg to 998kg), the race derivative claims 0-97km/h (0-60mph) in 3.2 seconds – down from 3.7s for the road car. Lotus also claims the Race 380 can lap the UK brand’s own Hethel test track in 1:23.5, making it not only the fastest ever Exige model to lap the circuit, but also 1.5s quicker than the Exige V6 Cup R. For those wanting to go quicker, an optional full titanium exhaust system is said to help the Race 380 drop another 10kg.
Featuring a gamut of “competition-focused components”, the 2017 Lotus Exige Race 380 comes standard with a six-speed sequential Xtrac transmission with carbon-fibre steering wheel-mounted shift paddles, an oil cooler, limited-slip differential, and revised two-way adjustable Ohlins dampers and adjustable front and rear anti-roll bars.
Lotus’ driver-adjustable traction control system is also on board, along with a fully-integrated roll cage, lightweight FIA-approved, HANS-compatible carbon-fibre driver’s seat, a six-point harness, ultra-lightweight polycarbonate side windows, a customisable colour TFT instrument cluster – incorporating a data logger and GPS unit – and a competition-spec fire extinguisher and battery isolator switch. Lotus says “airbags are not included in the specification”.
Keeping Lotus’ latest track weapon glued to the road is a combination of mechanical and aerodynamic assistance.
Firstly, the Race 380 rolls on super-sticky Michelin Pilot Sport Cup 2 tyres (measuring 215/45ZR17 at the front and 265/35ZR18 at the rear), wrapped around ultra-lightweight forged alloy wheels and encircling forged, four-piston AP Racing calipers and grooved, two-piece brake discs.
Secondly, it features a reworked aero package that Lotus claims develops 240kg of downforce at 274km/h.
Comprising ventilated bodywork, a rear-mounted grille, a new front splitter, a rear diffuser, and a larger, ‘straight-cut’ motorsport rear wing, the package also includes front and rear tow hooks, an ultra-lightweight carbon-fibre motorsport-specific louvered tailgate panel, carbon-fibre side air intake pods, and the replacement of the standard headlights with matt black covers.
Despite the Race 380 not being available in a road-legal specification, Lotus says, “the majority of the original car’s configuration is retained”, including the Exige Sport 380’s hand-made carbon-fibre front inspection cover, hard-top, and diffuser surround.
The 2017 Lotus Exige Race 380 is available for order in the UK, priced from £99,500 ($162,000), though, local fans will have to wait to hear more information, with a spokesperson for the Australian distributor, Simply Sports Cars, telling CarAdvice, details are yet to be confirmed. For context though, in Australia, the Lotus Exige Sport 350 starts at $134,500 (before on-road costs).
Lotus says the first Exige Race 380s should reach owners by May 2017, with the company already claiming strong success with the Lotus Exige Sport 380, suggesting orders are already allocated for the next four months’ production.