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Lotus Elise Club Racer not all it can be

Lotus announces a Club Racer version of the Elise S for the 2009 Frankfurt auto show.

Lotus Club Racer
Sky Blue is one of the four colors for the Lotus Club Racer. Lotus

When Lotus announced it would debut a Club Racer version of its Elise S at the upcoming Frankfurt auto show, we were excited. Club Racers are stripped-down versions of existing cars, lightened up for weekend track events. And Lotus models are already so light, and have so much grip, a Club Racer model would really push the limits.

Lotus Club Racer interior
Interior design elements mark the Club Racer. Lotus

But as we started reading through the press release, it only spoke of body colors derived from classic Lotus cars of the 1960s. The interior design was touted for its CR logo and anthracite shifter knob and handbrake. The only real performance-related aspect is the wheels and tires, the former six spoke alloys and the latter Yokohama AD07 LTS.

The car that the Club Racer is based on, the Lotus Elise S, is a European spec car with only 134 horsepower. The base Lotus Elise available in the U.S. makes 198 horsepower, with acceleration to 60 mph in 4.9 seconds. Until there is a U.S. spec Club Racer, Lotus cars here will smoke the European model in all but style.