As shown in Paris 2010, the future of Lotus may be gradually moving away from its basic, stripped out roots – one needs more luxury to tempt customers away from Porsche and Ferrari – but the marque’s new guardians promise to maintain the brand’s USP, which is performance through lightweight. That mantra’s perfect example is this Geneva debutant, the Lotus Elise Club Racer.
We all know that the sub 900 kg Elise is one of the most basic sportscars around, but Lotus has managed to further trim more than 24 kg off its scales. This is from a lighter battery (saves 5.4 kg), the removal of the soft top roof (5.9 kg) and to the extent of replacing the standard badges with stickers (60 grams). Among the other things removed are the Elise’s radio/speakers, noise insulation and carpets, central locking, passenger footrest, mud flaps and the airbags.
The base Elise’s 1.6-litre 1ZR-FAE engine remains unchanged, although there’s an optional Club Racer Power Pack for the track which ups power from 134 hp to 139 hp. Also new is the Sport setting for the DPM (Dynamic Performance Management) that “allows even the less experienced sports car drivers to feel at the top of their game”. It can be fully switched off, of course.
“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,” said Wolf Zimmermann, Chief Technical Officer Lotus Cars.
At £27,500, this is not only the purest, but cheapest Lotus one can buy today.