There’s no shortage of special editions when it comes to Lotus, but this one’s pretty desirable. Hethel has unveiled two unique Celebration cars, the Exige Type 49 and 79, at the Goodwood Festival of Speed 2018. The Celebration cars pay homage to two of the most recognisable race cars in the British brand’s history and its 70th birthday.

In addition to 2018 marking the 70th anniversary of Lotus’ birth, it’s a milestone for two historic racers. The Exige Type 49 marks the 50 years since Graham Hill clinched both the Drivers’ and Constructors’ World Championship in the Lotus Type 49. The Exige Type 79 salutes the 40 years since Mario Andretti won his World Championship, and Lotus the Constructors’ Championship, in the Lotus Type 79.

The “Gold Leaf” Type 49 and “John Player Special” 79 are just two of the cars that helped forge Lotus’ reputation in racing. In Formula 1, it has more than 475 GP starts, with 79 victories and seven World Championships. The marque has also successfully competed in rallying, Le Mans, Indy and saloon car classes around the world.

“Lotus is an iconic British brand and its contribution to both the world of motorsport, and development of sports car as we know them today, is undeniable. These Celebration cars are a fitting tribute to our past, but they reflect our future and show that we’re still true to our principles in building the very best luxury sports cars,” said Group Lotus CEO Feng Qingfeng.

Finished in solid red and motorsport black respectively, the 49 and 79 have subtle but sharp contrasting pinstripes on the front splitters, front access panels, bargeboards, roof panels and rear wings in Championship Gold. Both incorporate carbon fibre front splitters, air curtains, front access panels, side intakes, hard top roof panels, lightweight full tailgate panels, straight rear wings and rear diffuser finishers.

Gold painted wheels with diamond cut rims, and red brake calipers, complete their appeal along with unique Type 49/79 decals on each rear buttress.

Inside, each livery is referenced, with Lotus’ in-house manufactured carbon race seats trimmed in black Alcantara, and finished with red and gold, or black and gold, contrast double stitching. This is echoed by the door panels and face-level vents, transmission console, and complemented by the cabin’s anodised aluminium and CF elements. Topping off Lotus’ open-gate manual gearbox is a wooden gear knob.

Far from being just for show, the Exige Type 49 and 79 Celebration cars are based on the wildest ever incarnation of the Exige – the Cup 430. Employing a supercharger and chargecooler, the 3.5 litre V6 has 430 hp at 7,000 rpm and 440 Nm of torque from 4,000 rpm. 0-100 km/h is done in 3.3 seconds before a top speed of 290 km/h.

Weighing just 1,056 kg in its lightest configuration, the Exige Cup 430 has a power to weight of 407 hp per tonne. The supercar killer also has up to 220 kg of downforce through the careful management of airflow under and over the car. With Nitron three-way adjustable dampers (tuning rebound, as well as low-speed and high-speed compression) and Eibach adjustable front and rear anti-roll bars as standard, the hot Exige uses Michelin Pilot Sport Cup 2 tyres and forged, four-piston AP Racing brakes.