Feb 21, 2011

LOTUS UNVEILS TRACK-FOCUSED ELISE FOR GENEVA This is the new Lotus Elise Club Racer, a stripped-down, track-focused version of the Elise S (and for £27,500 - £600 less than the standard car).

Despite its ambitious future model plans and concerted drive upmarket, Lotus is clearly keen to remind its customers that it hasn't forgotten its track-focused roots. The result is the Elise Club Racer, which offers a small boost in performance (courtesy of 24kg of shaved-off weight) and a more sophisticated chassis set-up.

The most significant change for the Club Racer is the introduction of a 'sport' setting to the 'Dynamic Performance Management' (DPM) chassis control system - a first for the Elise.

In sport mode, the DPM still controls the car's various driver assistance systems, most notably the stability control and traction control, but allows both more wheelspin and more understeer before intervening electronically.

The Elise Club Racer also gets an adjustable front anti-roll bar. The 134bhp 1.6-litre Toyota engine remains the same, but an optional, track-only 'Club Racer Power Pack' can push output up to 139bhp.

Meanwhile, the weight-saving regime includes a sticker instead of a badge (saving 60g) a lightweight battery (another 5.4kg) and the removal of the soft-top roof (5.9kg saved, but you'd better hope it doesn't rain).

Further weight is shed thanks to the absence of central locking, radio, noise insulation and carpets, passenger footrest, mud flaps and airbags.

The big question is this: is less more? In the case of the Elise Cub Racer, we certainly hope so.