Lotus planning Exige-based rally car for Frankfurt

2010 Lotus Exige Cup 260
2010 Lotus Exige Cup 260
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Lotus Exige Cup 260 – Click above for high-res image gallery

The ambition in the Hethel offices of Lotus appears to know no bounds, its road car program rivaled only by its expanding racing operations.

The British automaker already participates, in one manner or another, in Formula 1, IndyCar, GP3 and GT racing. The company is also said to be working on a new LMP2 program to challenge for the second-tier Le Mans category. But before that comes around, reports indicate that Lotus is working on an in-house rally project.

Rather than compete in the top-tier WRC or IRC classes, reports suggest that a production-based Exige is in the works for privateer entries, presumably for tarmac rallies, set to debut at the upcoming Frankfurt Motor Show in September. Despite the fact that the Exige has gone out of production, it remains a popular choice among privateers who have Lotus road cars converted to rally specifications by independent outfitters, a slice of whose pie Lotus apparently is keen to take.

The growing motorsport division at Lotus is headed by one Claudio Berro, who followed CEO Dany Behar over from Ferrari, where he was once the F1 team's manager. And, like his former boss Jean Todt, Berro comes from a background as a rally co-pilot, navigating a Talbot Sunbeam Lotus through the Group 2 Italian Rally Championship in the early '80s.

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