After more than a decade relying on ever-more marginal variations of its popular Elise sports car, Lotus’ new Evora arrived on the scene last year with considerable expectations on its young shoulders. Not only did it need to square up to arguably the most capable sports car on the market, Porsche’s Cayman, but it also needed to reinvent (or perhaps re-invigorate) the Lotus brand, providing an aspirational goal for those customers with a little more money to spend.
Well, in less than a year the Evora walked away with Top Gear’s Sports Car of the Year award, plus an armful of similar trophies from journalists around the world. Then more recently it’s been swooned upon by F1 royalty, including Jacques Villeneuve, Martin Brundle and Lotus F1’s new driver Jarno Trulli, who made the Evora the first ever Lotus he had driven.
So where does Lotus go from such a successful launch year? Well, it creates a GT4 racing version of the Evora and launches its own one-make race series which will no doubt help customers connect the ethos of Lotus Cars with that of its Malaysian backed F1 team. Genius.
The Evora Cup will be launched at the Autosport International racing car show in Birmingham, UK on the 14th January 2010, where further details of their innovative European race series for 2010 will also be revealed.
The Evora Cup race car has been developed by Lotus Motorsport and is designed to make it immediately competitive in GT4 racing, together with a number of different endurance and sprint racing series. At the heart of the Evora Cup is an all new 4 litre V6 race engine that boasts more than 400 PS and a dry sump system for the high cornering forces encountered during racing. The mid mounted engine is mated to a Cima six-speed sequential paddle shift dog gearbox, designed purely for motor sport.
The Evora body has received a Dallara developed aero package, which includes a number of updated carbon fibre parts which are said to significantly improve performance for racing applications, providing greater downforce and improved cooling. The engine remains in its mid-engine layout, within its high-tech, super-stiff extruded and bonded aluminium chassis and double wishbone suspension all round.
The race car will come with adjustable motor sport dampers and six piston front brake callipers, with two piece aluminium belled brake discs. The car has an electrical cut off, fire extinguisher, traction control and is designed to have all the relevant FIA compatible motor sport equipment ready to race.
“Performance through light weight” is a Lotus philosophy and the Evora Cup race car has been pared down to less than 1200 kg, which translates into a reduction of more than 200 kgs over the production car. This weight saving has been achieved by using high performance parts and materials and deleting parts not required for motor sport
Claudio Berro, Director of Motorsport at Group Lotus says, “Lotus has an enviable heritage of producing very competitive racing cars and we wish to continue this heritage with the Evora Cup race car. The company started by creating world beating racing cars and this is evident from the design of Lotus cars as the production cars have many racing car design features and perform exceptionally well on track.”
“The Evora Cup racing car is the first step along the route for Lotus Motorsport to realise its racing ambitions. I am looking forward to seeing the Evora racing this year in the Lotus Evora Cup competition and I am excited by the plans for 2011, where Lotus intends to introduce a pan European one make race series for the Evora Cup.”
The 2010 Evora Cup series will be a European event with points initially being awarded to competitors for entering races with the points values awarded relative to Evora finishing positions. There will be five points for attending any eligible national race meeting with five points awarded for the first Evora to finish down to one point for the fifth.
The series will then culminate with two Lotus Festivals, with provisional dates for Donington Park in the UK (16th & 17th October 2010) and the second at Vallelunga in Italy (21st and 22nd November 2010). All the competitors from around Europe will be invited to race at these festivals and there will be double points on offer. The championship winner will be the driver who accrues the most number of points from a maximum of 6 races over the 2010 season.
Lotus has offered a prize fund of at least €100,000 to reward competitors in the series, which will go some way to offsetting the likely purchase price of £120,000 excluding taxes..
Drivers are invited to register their interest at the Lotus Evora Cup website, or at Autosport International show this week.
Lotus Evora Cup site