Although they come with quite a few idiosyncrasies, sportscars made by British carmaker Lotus are still some of the best available today. And of these, the Elise is by far the best in terms of driving fun. The Hethel carmaker seems to have taken a cue from the fact that many Elise owners take their cars to the track frequently, and announced a track-ready, competition-eligible version of the sportscar. Dubbed the Elise Race 250, the new model has been developed specifically “to meet the high demands of the track,” says Lotus, which also says the car is eligible for many race series around the world.
Powering the racer is a supercharged, 1.8-litre four-cylinder engine that makes 243bhp at 7,200rpm and 250Nm of torque from 3,3500rpm. While these might not seem to be impressive numbers on their own, you should consider the fact that the Elise racer weighs just 900kg, more than 30kg lighter than the road-going Elise 250 Cup, thanks to a chassis that weighs in at just 68kg. Hethel has also optmised every aspect of the Elise Race 250 with the aim of slashing lap times, including Nitron adjustable dampers, uprated brake pads, FIA-approved carbon fibre race seat with six-point racing harness, a removable steering wheel and a polycarbonate rear windscreen. Add to these a full aero package, including a front splitter, rear diffuser, floor extensions and a rear wing, the Elise Race 250 is 0.5 seconds quicker than the Elise Cup 220R around the Hethel test track. In fact, the car’s 1 minute 33.5 seconds lap is also the fastest time recorded for any racing Elise around the brand’s circuit.
And inside, Lotus has packed in everything that you’d expect to see in a racecar, incluidng an A-Frame harness bar, an FIA compliant front roll-cage section, fire extinguisher, battery isolator and front and rear towing eyes. Meanwhile, the front headlights have been replaced with lightweight composite blanking panels.
“The Elise Race 250 is the fastest, most focused Elise we’ve ever produced and, judging by what it’s capable of on track, it looks set to become a favourite with our racers around the world,” says Jean-Marc Gales, CEO of Group Lotus.
The car, which is being launched as part of the Hethel factory’s 50th anniversary celebrations, retails for a pre-VAT price of £44,583 (Dh215,300) in the UK.