• Apr 20th 2006 at 7:33AM
  • 12

Lotus Sport, the competition subsidiary of the British marque that produces the lightweight Elise, has been around since 1999. Until now, however, North American customers were left with few options when customizing their Elise for track use. The announcement that Lotus Sport would be now be operating in North America came at the New York Auto Show last week where Lotus debuted a pair of Elises to commemorate the occasion.

The first is the Lotus Sport Exige Cup (shown), a purpose-built track car that does away with such civilized comforts as headlights and air conditioning and adds a supercharger to the Elise’s Toyota-based, Lotus-tuned 1.9L four-cylinder. Power is up to 243 hp in the Exige Cup and makes its way to tarmac through a 6-speed manual and adjustable limited slip diff. 0-60 will occur in a scant 4.1 seconds. Only 15 copies will be made available on this continent at the price of $78,990.

The second car is the Lotus Sport Elise, which slots in between the narrow-minded Exige Cup and the relatively civilized Elise. The Sport Elise is fully street legal but adds adjustable Ohlins dampers and front anti-sway bar, defeatable Lotus Traction Control and a competition clutch. A roll cage and harness bar is also standard equipment. Only 50 examples of the Sport Elise will find their way ashore in the North America and each will carry a price tag of $54,995.

Follow the jump for more live shots of this dynamic duo from Lotus along with official shots from the company.

[Source: Lotus]

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    • 1 Second Ago
      • 9 Years Ago
      >>Closer to 300 would be nice
      >How much power do you want in a short wheelbase, wide >track, super light car with treaded tires? :)

      As much as you can before losing traction. The torque and horsepower is not the problem, it is the available traction, handling, etc. With street legal competition tires and a limited slip rear differential you could easily achieve +300bhp without a problem and still have plenty left before you need more traction. Hell, the McLaren F1 has ~600bhp in a car about the same size, and Tiff Needell drove it upwards of 150mph on street tires. I mean, honestly, what the hell kind of question is that anyways? ;)
      • 9 Years Ago
      the roof scoop to feed the intercooler is pretty pimp... wish it made a litte more power though! Closer to 300 would be nice and has been done with a small turbo (i.e. minimal low lag, quick response).
      • 9 Years Ago
      These cars are the best of two Island nations, best body, handling, suspension from the UK and engine from Japan. Supercar ability and every day drivability.
      • 9 Years Ago
      Elise gets sexier year by year
      • 9 Years Ago
      John, we really do not need the Europa GT here in the States. It would never sell in any kind of numbers. It's way too similar to the Elise, which is already available.

      Besides, all you really need to do is lose weight, work out a bit and you'll be ready for an Elise. ;)
      • 9 Years Ago
      spdracerut, that would destroy this car's handling, which is its' strenght. To many these are the best handling cars in the world, period. You just don't get it. Buy a Shelby GT 500. :)
      • 9 Years Ago
      Olivier, I am quite familiar with Lotus's philosohpy. But I also like more power assuming it does not create a narrow/peaky powerband. And that is the reason I stated ~300hp. Furthermore, the additional weight of a turbo system as opposed to the supercharger system would be very minimal, if any. Also, the improved efficiency of the turbo would negate the need for a bigger IC as compared to the blower (I am assuming it's using a roots blower). Lastly, the additional upgrades to the cooling, braking, and driveline components to handle the extra power would add a minimal weight penalty but a much greater acceleration ability. Also, putting on some fatter R-compounds always helps :)

      For reference, one of the most fun experiences I've ever had in a car was when a couple of my friends and I rented a 91 Miata from Rent-A-Wreck; and that thing was certainly a wreck! Crap tires, everything out of balance, NO power... but we auto-x'ed it anyways :)

      And for beating cars with more HP: I have a 96 Nissan 200sx se-r which was putting down about 140whp at the time. I was at Texas World Speedway and was cutting much better lap times than a 400+whp Toyota Supra. But that guy just couldn't drive to save his life.
      • 9 Years Ago
      spdracerut you don't seem familiar with Lotuses philosophy; they build the best riding cars, period.
      It's not about putting the most power in the car; more power means bigger engine, bigger breaks, bigger intercooler, stronger frame etc. etc.. >> All this adds weights.
      The Road legal Lotus Elise in the UK weighs 780 Kg. In track configuration I am sure they have been able to shave a goof 80-100 Kgs more off.
      The road legal 190bhp Lotus Elise already matches a New Porsche Carrera's 0-60MPH time and runs circle around it on the track (however it gives up in top, speed, but 150MPH on a track is alright in my book, except if you want Nascar boring stuff in which case you aren't the target for the car anyway).

      I've had the privilege of driving one of their older Rover powered 1.8 120bhp cars and I have never had as much much; it is nimble and will put a smile on your face.

      This car is the anti-thesis of American Muscle-cars; no big block no big tyres little weight and kick-ass performance.

      You should try one on a track to feel the satisfaction of giving a good beating to cars twice as powerful as the Lotus.
      • 9 Years Ago
      Hello Lotus Cars:

      Look, will you please stop taunting us with these automotive half-measures, get your techies to U.S. certify the Europa GT and PLEASE get that car on these shores? What is the problem??? We're not buying enough Elises? Tickets to Stones concerts? Is it because we can't get see Daniel Craig as 007??

      I mean, the Elise is a great car, but a tiny car. Unless you expect we Yanks to actually diet or something ( Good Luck ) we ain't getting no lighter. WE NEED THE EUROPA GT, DANGIT!!!

      We'll even......take back Madonna - if that's what it takes.

      Happy motoring,
      John Bryans Fontaine
      Westport, Connecticut

      • 9 Years Ago
      So you who have experience, are there tracks where one can pay just to drive something like this, I heard about the new attraction in Las Vegas, but there it can't be a new idea.
      • 9 Years Ago
      This problably destroys the most cars on any track.
      I imagine you'd have to have a real monster to be quicker. Roadcars, of course.

      I have seen some other tuned elises, but its a bit special when it is an official build.

      This car and an empty track.. :D
      • 9 Years Ago
      There really is no experience quite like riding in a Lotus. You guys in the US should really be thrilled.