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Lotus at 2009 Frankfurt motor show

Fri, 18 Sep 2009 00:00:00 -0700

By Tom Sharpe

First Official Pictures

18 September 2009 13:55

Formula One won't be the only place that race fans will get the opportunity to cheer on Lotus in 2010, thanks to the Evora Type 124 Endurance Racecar. Unveiled at the 2009 Frankfurt motor show in full FIA-spec, the Type 124 signals the Norfolk-based company's return to sports car racing.

First, the basics. Lotus has stripped around 200kg (depending on race regulations) from the standard Evora’s kerb weight and breathed new life into the Toyota-sourced V6 engine, boosting power to around 395bhp (up at least 119bhp).

From the outside it might appear that only a huge carbonfibre spoiler and a new front splitter have been added into the mix, but under the skin the Evora has undergone a complete FIA-inspired overhaul.

The mid-engine layout, extruded and bonded aluminium chassis and forged aluminium wishbones of the road car remain but in comes a six-speed sequential paddle-shift racing gearbox, full FIA-specification roll cage and an enduro-ready 120-litre fuel tank. Six piston callipers courtesy of AP Racing have been introduced all-round and adjustable dampers and anti-roll bars mean that the Evora can be tuned to each circuit on its packed 2010 schedule.

Lotus's factory-supported race program has already targeted a number of races where the Type 124 will get a chance to prove its mettle, starting with the ADAC Nürburgring 24 Hours in May 2010. Its plans for the rest of the 2010/11 will bring visits to: Sepang, Malaysia, for the Merdeka Millennium 12 Hours, in August; Silverstone, for the BritCar 24 Hours, in October; and to the Dubai Autodrome, for the Dubai 24 Hours, in January 2011.

Not to be left behind by the more mainstream manufacturers, Lotus continued its quest to reduce CO2 emissions with the unveiling of the Lotus Range Extender engine at the 2009 Frankfurt Motor Show.

Designed for use alongside a hybrid drivetrain the 1.2-litre three-cylinder engine weighs in at just 56kg and charges the battery while delivering additional power via an electric generator. A total of 67bhp can be extracted from the two sources, the lightweight engine forming an on-board power source capable of extending the range of hybrid vehicles.

By Tom Sharpe