Meet the “Unforgiving” Lotus Exige Race 380
This new track car is ridiculously light. Would you expect anything else from Lotus?
Remember the Lotus Exige Sport 380? That demon machine from last November, the one capable of 178 mph, the fastest Exige ever? It’s nothing compared to this: Meet the “unforgiving” new Lotus Exige Race 380.
This new model is felicitously named, a legit track car. Check the standard suite of competition kit: an integrated roll cage, FIA-spec carbon driver seat with six-point harness, fire extinguisher, polycarbonate windows, carbon tailgate and intake pods. You do not get headlamps. You do not get airbags.
There are mechanical tweaks, too. The engine is typical Lotus, a 3.5-liter supercharged V6, rated at 375 horsepower. Except here it’s routed through an Xtrac six-speed sequential gearbox, a la Lotus 3-Eleven, and trick limited-slip rear. That unit turns new, superlight alloy wheels, wrapped in wider, Michelin Pilot Sport Cup 2 rubber. Big brakes come from AP Racing, dampers from Öhlins. The latter, along with the new sway bars, are adjustable. The exhaust, now full titanium, trims another 22 pounds. All told, the Race 380 comes in at dry weight of 2,200 pounds. Zero-to-sixty takes 3.2 seconds, a tidy 0.3 seconds quicker than the Sport 380.
Predictably, the aero is bonkers. Revised front venting reduces pressure around the wheels; a new grille out back creates a nifty pocket around the engine compartment. Add in a new splitter, larger diffuser and “straight-cut” rear wing, and the Sport 380 generates a claimed 529 pounds of downforce at top speed—twice that of the original McLaren MP4-12C.
It shows. Lotus says the Race 380 laps its Hethel test track in 1 minute, 23.5 seconds, the best time for an Exige ever. Deliveries are set to begin this May, for privateer use during the 2017 and 2018 seasons. The price? Try £99,500, before taxes. That’s approximately $122,170 at current exchange rates. Or rather, it would be. This is forbidden fruit, with no U.S. market sales planned. But, hey, a guy can dream, right?