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2011 Lotus Elise Club Racer
18th Feb 2011 - Lotus Press Release
Lotus will launch this more extreme, stripped-out version of its baby Elise at next month's Geneva motor show. Called Elise Club Racer, the new model is designed for improved track day use. It offers a more sophisticated chassis set-up than the regular car, and should have a small performance advantage too thanks to some weight savings.
The biggest change on the Club Racer is the addition of a Sport mode to Lotus's Dynamic Performance Management chassis control. The new set-up is still tied to the same parameters as a regular Elise - corner brake control, drag torque control, differential lock, traction control, stability control, ABS, hydraulic brake assist and electronic brake distribution - but it increases the amount of traction slip allowed and removes understeer recognition.
Lotus claims the new setting "allows the driver more vehicle control before an intervention is required". The car also gets an adjustable front anti-roll bar (instead of the standard Elise's fixed item) for further configurability.
The Elise's 1.6-litre engine remains unchanged, although the optional, track-only Club Racer Power Pack will give a modest increase in power, from 134bhp to 139bhp. However, the Club Racer should still be quicker, because it weighs almost 25kg less than a standard car. The savings come through a lightweight battery (5.4kg), the use of a decal instead of a badge (60g) and the removal of the soft-top roof (5.9kg).
Further kilos are saved through the deletion from the spec of the central locking, radio and speakers, noise insulation and carpets, passenger footrest, mud flaps and the driver's and passenger's airbag. Lotus claims the total saving is 24.96kg. The Club Racer is available in six colours, and gets a new design of 12-spoke alloy wheel. It costs £27,500, £600 less than an Elise S.
Anyone harbouring under the misapprehension that Lotus might be moving away from performance through lightweight only needs to take a quick ride in the new 1.6 Lotus Elise Club Racer to know that's definitely not the case. The bright engineers at Lotus put even the lightest of Lotus' modern cars on a diet and managed to shed a further 24kg. So how did Lotus manage to make one of the lightest models on the market even lighter? The engineers behind the Elise Club Racer took a stripped-to-the-bare-bone approach visualised by the body-coloured seats but materialised in many ways such as the motorsport derived lightweight battery and the deletion of noise insulation. Attention to even the smallest of details has ensured that Lotus' passion for performance through lightweight has been translated throughout the car.
For the first time ever an Elise variant comes complete with a Sport setting for the DPM (Dynamic Performance Management) allowing even the less experienced sports car drivers to feel at the top of their game, while the ability to switch it off completely will please the more established track orientated drivers. DPM combined with improved agility courtesy of Lotus finely tuned sport suspension and an adjustable anti-roll bar will make the Elise Club Racer equally versatile for both road and race track fun.
Wolf Zimmermann Chief Technical Officer Lotus Cars said: "The traditional Lotus approach of reduction and purity has lead to one of the most zeitgeist and contemporary sports cars around. For over 15 years the Lotus Elise has become an icon in the sports car market, carving out a niche market with a dedicated following of lightweight fans. The new Club Racer will definitely give these people something extra to get their teeth stuck into. This car epitomises everything that's cool about the Elise - it's fast, raw, responsive and a huge amount of fun to drive.
Quality throughout the vehicle has been a top priority, highly regarded component suppliers such as Eibach for springs and Bilstein for dampers ensure that the Elise Club Racer is a car of substance as well as style. The Elise Club Racer pleases the eye as well as the soul with a choice of six striking colours (Sky Blue, Saffron Yellow, Ardent Red, Aspen White, Matt Black and Carbon Grey) and bespoke design elements that emphasise the character of the car. It's pocket pleasing too, at £27,500 before delivery and on the road costs, the Elise Club Racer marks the new entry level sports car from Lotus. With the Elise standard of just 149g CO2/km plus the weight reduction, the new Club Racer provides maximum fun without so much of the green-guilt usually associated with high performance driving. Lotus Elise Club Racer: Purity, performance, pleasure - a TRUE Lotus.
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