When Lotus launched its Evora last year, it seemed the company gave in to the need for a mass-market car. Unlike the Elise, the Evora has four seats. The cabin isn't stripped bare, but sports modern electronics. And the engine is a big--a Toyota-sourced 3.5-liter V-6. But lest we think this extra tonnage makes the Evora any less sporty than the Elise, Lotus intends to take a race-equipped Evora to the Nürburgring 24-hour endurance race.
Lotus had its Evora endurance racer on display at the Frankfurt auto show. Externally, the car shows few modifications from a standard Evora, although its big carbon fiber wing stands out. Other aerodynamic components include a diffuser and splitter. For endurance racing, the Evora also gets a 31.7-gallon fuel tank, roll cage, and fire suppression system. But even with this extra equipment, Lotus engineers managed to shave 441 pounds off it versus a standard Evora, for a total weight of 2,646 pounds.
The Evora endurance racer retains the 3.5-liter V-6, although in this application it has been tuned up to 395 horsepower, which likely means a supercharger. The standard transmission has been replaced with a sequential six-speed paddle-shifted gearbox.
With its power-to-weight ratio, good aerodynamics, and Lotus-engineered handling, the Evora should prove itself a contender. But the tough nature of endurance racing will reveal any faults Lotus engineers might have overlooked.