click image for two desktop-sized sketches of the car

Geneva show-goers are in for a treat courtesy of Lotus. Well, Lotus Sport actually. Lotus Sport is the racing arm of Lotus and they used their GT3 race version of the Exige as a template to fashion an Exige GT3 concept for the street. Sure it's just a concept for now, but it is likely to go into limited production. With its supercharged and intercooled 1.8-liter engine further tweaked, the GT3 is putting out 271 hp now. It bests the current best Exige S by a bunch, and the track-only Exige Cup by a little bit. More importantly, it is the closest thing on the street to the Lotus Sport Exige GT3 that has been winning races for two years now. Think Porsche GT3 as interpreted by Colin Chapman. Lighter, more sharply focused, and dangerous looking.

Along with the added power, this special Exige gets a wider rear track, a unique rear spoiler, and a more aerodynamic (and clean) nose. There are also upgraded brakes up front and pads all around, wider rear wheels and a few other bodywork changes. It sounds like a great track car that you could actually drive on the street and looks even better than the current Exige. Lotus is guessing that pricing would be somewhere in the £50,000 to £60,000 range. That might seem a bit steep, but put it up against a 911 GT3, F430, or maybe the Gallardo Superleggera and you might be surprised at how well this could keep up on a track.

Follow the jump for the rest of the specs and the official press release from Lotus.

[Source: Lotus]
Related GalleryLotus Exige GT3 concept
Press Release:

Lotus Launches the Exige GT3 Concept Road Vehicle
UNLEASHED! The Most Extreme Exige Variant To-date

Geneva, Switzerland (6th March 2007), Lotus Sport, the race car
performance arm of Lotus Cars Ltd, today unveiled the Lotus Exige GT3
concept road vehicle. With its debut at the 77th annual Geneva
International Motor Show, the 275 PS (271 bhp / 203 kW) Exige GT3 is a bold,
no-holds-barred, lap record-breaking, breathtaking performance machine that
embraces all that is expected of a race-bred Lotus.

Building on the Lotus racing pedigree, this concept car can deliver
more grin-factor than ever before; there are no intended compromises and no
limits except those that are self imposed by the driver.

This is one concept that commands your full attention.

Said Mike Kimberley, Chief Executive Officer for Group Lotus plc:
"The Exige GT3 concept road car is a fantastic showcase product from
our race car performance division, Lotus Sport. The car's racing background
becomes immediately obvious from its aggressive stance, extreme width of
rear track and innovative three-dimensional rear wing. The foundation of
all Lotus products is phenomenal handling and ride characteristics, but the
Exige GT3 takes these into another dimension altogether where supreme road
holding and outrageous acceleration come evenly matched with sensational
stopping ability."

The Exige GT3's pure bred racing brother will be again competing in
the GT race arena in 2007, taking over the mantle from the hugely successful
2006 British GT3 Championship-winning car. On road or track the Lotus Exige
GT3 winning pedigree will continue in time honoured Lotus racing tradition.

A new one-piece front clam-shell with fully masked front wheels and
wheel arch venting leads the aerodynamically cleaned silhouette of this car.
A menacing stance is enhanced by the aggressively flared rear wheel arches
and aero-efficient three-dimensional rear wing and blended end-plates. The
visual message is clear; this vehicle means business and the squat wide
hindquarters symbolise the latent power harnessed within.

That power is provided by the same charge-cooled supercharged engine
that the GT3 race car employs, producing 275PS (271bhp / 203kw) driven
through ten inch rear wheels with 255 width tyres making the final
connection to the road. Max speed (257kph / 160mph) and peak torque have
been electronically limited but acceleration is left untouched and
unimpaired. The up-rated front brakes and brake pads all round ensure that
on road or track this car's stopping ability is more than capable of
harnessing its acceleration performance.

The end-plate mounted three-dimensional rear wing is highly
efficient and fully complements the widened and flattened rear deck shape in
reducing the overall drag as well as maintaining front to rear downforce
balance. The performance of this car will amaze and reward all drivers with
incredible road holding (developed with the help of its 2-way Ohlins
adjustable dampers together with Lotus Sport adjustable front stabiliser bar
and rear suspension double-shear track control arms) and stunning
acceleration.

Simply put, the Lotus Exige GT3 will redefine your concept of a road
car by re-affirming that unique proposition that is, above all else, a
Lotus.

It is intended that the Lotus Exige GT3 concept road vehicle will be
further developed into a full production car for limited markets, to go on
sale in late 2007 with an estimated price tag of between £50,000 and
£60,000.

The Lotus GT3 in more detail

Engine
The supercharged and intercooled 1796 cc engine in the Lotus GT3 has
a maximum power output of 275 PS (271 bhp / 203 kw) at 8000 rpm and a torque
figure of approximately 258 Nm (190 lb/ft) at 7000 rpm. This significant
amount of extra power and torque now available together with the VVTL-i
variable cam system ensures that there is a smooth and linear surge of power
from low engine speeds all the way to the maximum 8000 rpm. The Roots-type
Eaton M62 supercharger (with a sealed-for-life internal mechanism meaning
that it does not require the use of the engine's oil) is run from the
crankshaft and has an integral bypass valve for part load operation. Four
high capacity injectors and an up rated fuel pump add additional fuel under
hard acceleration or high speed driving.

An Accusump (engine oil accumulator unit) is included in the whole
package as an oil reservoir back-up for extreme track use ensuring that,
under those conditions, the engine oil pressure remains constant.
Twin oil coolers complete the powertrain package.

Transmission
A sports-type clutch plate and heavy duty clutch cover transfer the
engine power and torque to the lightweight aluminium C64 six-speed gearbox -
with the same perfectly spaced ratios as the Exige S. An open type limited
slip differential is fitted as standard. The Lotus switchable traction
control system (LTCS) works through the engine, reducing power to maintain
traction; it is active above 8 kph (5 mph) and reacts much more quickly than
many brake-based systems.

Chassis Structure
Lotus designed lightweight structure of epoxy bonded aluminium alloy
extrusions with crash structure, extruded aluminium door beams, integral
steel seat-belt support structure and lightweight galvanized steel rear sub
frame incorporating a structural shear panel.

Body
GT3 derived one-piece front clamshell and wide track rear clamshell
with full length roof scoop design taken from the Cup Exige 255. New full
width rear wing with integral end plates mounting to rear clam. Race style
full width front splitter; standard Exige door and body sides retained.
Multi element rear diffuser with carbon option.

Wheels & Tyres
5-spoke lightweight forged alloy wheels (front 7Jx16 and rear
10Jx17) are shod with Lotus Sport specific Yokohama A048 R LTS tyres (front
195/50 R16 and rear 255/40 R17), designed to maximise grip and achieve the
ride and handling targets set by Lotus.

Brakes
The brake system includes 308 mm diameter 2 piece aluminium belled
cross drilled and ventilated front discs and 288 mm diameter cross-drilled
and ventilated rear discs. AP Racing two-piece radially mounted 4 piston
calipers at the front and Brembo single sliding piston at the rear. Pagid
RS14 sports brake pads all round. High grade silicone brake fluid;
stainless steel braided brake hoses. In addition, the proven Lotus track
tuned servo-assisted four-channel ABS system enhances braking performance
and minimises stopping distance without taking over from the skill of the
driver.

Suspension
Fully independent suspension utilising unequal length wishbones;
Öhlins 2-way adjustable dampers with coil over springs and Lotus Sport
adjustable front anti-roll bar. A rear double shear track control arm brace
is provided to cope with the expected kerb abuse during heavy track day
driving.

Performance
0-60 mph 3.9 secs (estimated)
0-100 km/h 4.0 secs (estimated)
0-100 mph 9.8 secs (estimated)
(0-160 km/h)
Maximum Speed 160 mph (257 km/h) - electronically limited
Max Power 275 PS (271 bhp / 203 kw) at 8000 rpm
Max Torque 258 Nm (190 lb/ft) at 7000 rpm