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The AutoGuide News Blog is your source for breaking stories from the auto industry. Delivering news immediately, the AutoGuide Blog is constantly updated with the latest information, photos and video from manufacturers, auto shows, the aftermarket and professional racing.
Lotus Motorsport and Alex Job Racing (AJR) will partner to compete for the GT championship in the American Le Mans Series, starting with the race at Long Beach on the weekend of April 14.
The factory-backed Lotus Evora GTE will feature a black-and-gold painted car reminiscent of JPS Lotus F1 cars. The team will also be be backed by Battery Tender, William Rast and Yokohama in 2012.
“We are focused on winning,” said Dany Bahar, CEO of Group Lotus. “Alex Job has one of the best records in sports car racing. We look forward to working together and developing a top-tier team over the coming years. Racing is a core component of the Lotus brand, and we are thrilled to have this new partnership to further enhance our winning racing heritage.”
Alex Job, the team principal, confirmed that IndyCar driver Townsend Bell will partner with two-time ALMS Founders Cup winner Bill Sweedler for the entire season.
“Lotus has made a lot of racing news lately with significant programs announced in multiple categories of motorsport,” said Scott Atherton, ALMS President and CEO. “After a full evaluation of all options we are proud they selected the ALMS for their factory-backed GT racing platform. This represents the best possible opportunity for Lotus to race what they sell and to showcase the technology and performance of their cars against the benchmark examples of the industry.”
Knowing that the 444-hp Lotus Evora GTE will be making its way to America makes us giddy. So naturally, when we saw more photos of the most powerful Lotus ever made, we had to share them with the rest of the world.
Up until now, we’ve basically been treated to seeing the Evora GTE under the typical auto show floor lighting. Now we get to see the retina-burning, bright yellow in its natural environment with its 3.5L V6 powerplant ready to rock. These photos really show off what the Evora GTE’s all about, the overall wider vehicle sporting plenty of carbon fiber throughout.
The GTE weighs in slightly over 230-lbs lighter than the standard Evora model and features Lotus’s Automated Manual Transmission (AMT) racing gearbox. Forged center-lock wheels adorn each corner of the street-legal racer, while the inside packs lightweight carbon fiber Recaro seats.
Now we’ll just anxiously await to hear its price tag.
GALLERY: Lotus Evora GTE
Honoring the Lotus Renault Formula One Grand Prix team, the British sports car company is giving three passionate UK enthusiasts the opportunity to own a very custom car. The GP Edition Evora S is fully loaded with the Premium Pack with SuedeTex, Lotus’ Tech Pack and a set of 19-inch forged diamond cut wheels. The special edition Evora S is clearly race-inspired, with a gold-and-black paint scheme that resembles the Lotus Renault Formula One Grand Prix race graphics.
The limited edition of just three vehicles will surely be snatched up quickly in the United Kingdom, sporting a price tag of £69,950 – or a tad over $110,000 based on today’s conversion rates.
GALLERY: Lotus Evora S GP Edition
The Lotus Cup USA Series will begin its season on September 2nd at New Jersey Motorsports Park, followed by a second round at Lime Rock Park In Connecticut on October 20th.
The inaugural East Coast events kick off the series, which features both open lapping days and a time trial event. The idea is to let Lotus customers experience their car on a closed course, and operate them in the way they were intended to be driven.
Participants will also be able to receive professional instruction behind the wheel of an Evora as part of the aptly named “Evora Performance Driving Experience”.
Taking the idea of a track-focused street car to the next level, Lotus has unveiled the GTE Road Car Concept at Pebble Beach. Named after the GTE class cars that Lotus is currently racing in Europe, this concept is essentially a blend of that competition racer with a street-legal Evora. In many ways it’s not as far from reality as one might guess, with the race car based heavily on the Evora road car and even sharing the same aluminum tub.
Thanks to a near excessive use of carbon fiber the concept weighs between 200 and 300 lbs less than the production Evora S, while the engine gets a healthy bump in power. With a modified version of the Evora S’s supercharged 3.5-liter V6, power is raised from 345-hp to 420-hp. No acceleration figures have been provided by Lotus, but with the stock car running 4.3 seconds to 60 mph and this concept also sporting a sequential transmission, a high 3.0 second time is certain.
Along with a significantly more aggressive front-end design, much of the Evora GTE’s look comes from a wider body, which is between two and three inches wider per side. (We could, however, do without that rear wing).
Inside, the car is coated almost entirely in carbon fiber, with no carpeting to speak of, while carbon-backed seats are swathed in ultra-grippy Alcantara.
Lotus has yet to confirm if the Evora GTE Road Car Concept will go into production but PR boss Kevin Smith assures us it’s not as distant an idea as it seems, and that a race car inspired Lotus street car could hit the market as early as next year. Don’t get too excited, however, as Lotus could face big problems getting it certified for sale in the U.S.
GALLERY: Lotus Evora GTE Road Car Concept
Watch the video after the jump:
Lotus will be packing heat this year at the upcoming Pebble Beach Concours d’Elegance with the Evora GTE Road Car Concept and the Exige Matte Black Final Edition.
The Evora GTE Road Car will be unveiled to the world for the first time at the McCall’s Motorworks Revival event Wednesday night, August 17 at the Monterey Jet Center. This high performance Evora was built for the sole purpose of being successful in the new global motorsport GTE category. The Evora will crank out 420-hp with a sequential AMT racing gearbox sending power to the wheels via ultra-light forged alloy rims with center-lock hubs and Pirelli P-Zero Corsa tires. The sports car will later be shown within the Lotus exhibit on Peter Hay Hill on August 18-20 before being moved onto the Concept Car Lawn for display for the rest of the weekend.
The US Premiere of the North American only Exige Matte Black Final Edition will premiere within the Lotus exhibit on Peter Hay Hill on August 18-21. This Exige gets bumped up to 257-hp, a stealthy paint job and black Alacantara sport seats. Only twenty-five of these vehicles will be produced, each with their own number plate.
Don’t let the Swizz Beatz involvement fool you: Lotus still wants you to know that they build sports cars. Case in point: at the swanky Pebble Beach Concours D’Elegance this year, Lotus will unveil a GTE-class race car based on their Evora.
The Evora GTE Road Car Concept is designed to race in the GTE class, including a stint at the 24 Hours of Le Mans. And as such, it packs 420 horsepower in its 3.5-liter V6 engine, channeled through a sequential AMT racing gearbox. It gets this power to the ground via center-lock forged-alloy wheels, wrapped with Pirelli P-Zero Corsa tires. Lotus reassures us that it “isn’t merely a paint scheme or homage to a race car—this is a serious race car that makes for a very serious road car.”
And if you’re heading down to Monterrey next week, you can catch the Evora GTE at Lotus’s dedicated exhibit by the Lodge, starting on August 18th—if you can get past Swizz Beatz’s entourage, that is.
There’s a scene in the movie Just Married—scratch that, every comedy about Europe ever—where the main characters squeeze themselves into a hopelessly small rental car that may or may not be a Smart, and then zany hijinks ensue. But those traveling to Europe might get the chance to rent something a little more exciting than that.
Hertz is now offering the Lotus Evora, as part of their Adrenaline range. The Adrenaline collection is already available Stateside with the Dodge Challenger, Ford Mustang and Chevrolet Camaro, but beginning now, customers in Spain, France, Germany, and the UK can choose from forbidden fruit such as the Alfa Romeo Brera, Fiat 500 Abarth, and the VW Scirocco. The Evora tops off this range, and Hertz will be the only company to offer a Lotus in its lineup.
If you feel like plonking down 250 Euros per day, the Evora will be available from all major airports in Rome, Barcelona, London, Bordeaux, and Frankfurt. No word on whether the Evora will make it into America’s lineup, however—those coming from big American cars might still find room to complain about the size.
Today, Group Lotus Motorsport announced the formation of Lotus Sport USA led by Team Principals Ian Dawson and John Pritzlaff. The factory endorsed team will focus on the GT2 and LMP2 classes sanctioned by the International Motor Sport Association. The new team will race with the Lotus Evora GTE for the North American and International schedule in 2012.
The team will announce innovative and exciting new partners to the program and the program will begin testing in quarter four of 2011. Claudio Berro,Director of Motorsport said, “We are very happy to confirm the formal plans for Lotus Sport USA. This part of the world represents a very important market to Group Lotus now and for the future. With Ian Dawson and John Pritzlaff on board, I’m sure Lotus Sport USA will go from strength to strength.”
It might not have the ultra-high production quality of Audi’s “Truth in 24″ documentary, but Lotus has just released a short video detailing the British sports car maker’s journey to the 24 Hours of Le Mans.
The four minute featurette aptly named “The Road to Le Mans” follows the factory Lotus team and the development of the Evora GTE race car. The team then hears to the 24 Hours of Spa in Belgium for the car’s first running before heading to Le Mans for a solid finish – especially considering its only the car’s second race.
Perhaps most impressive is that from starting the project to crossing the finish line at Le Mans (an accomplishment regardless of where you place) the entire journey takes just six months.
GALLERY: Lotus Evora GTE at Le Mans
Watch the video after the jump:
According to a report from Autoblog North American-spec production of the Lotus Elise and Exige will end in August, leaving the brand with only the Evora to sell as its sole product.
Since its debut in 2004 the Elise, and its hardtop Exige sibling have won accolades from enthusiasts and journalists alike, but have always been a niche product. The end of the Toyota 2ZZ engine, which powered the Elise on our shores, likely contributed to this decision.
The Elise will continue to be sold in Europe with a new 1.6L four-cylinder engine until a replacement arrives in 2015.
The hybrid engine that first appeared in the Lotus Evora 414E concept is supposedly attracting interest from 3 major manufacturers, according, according to a Lotus official.
Chief project engineer Lee Jeffcoat told Inside Line that there is interest from “several OEMS in 5,000-10,000 units annually, for a potential annual output of 30,000 engines,” as well as smaller companies looking for 1,000 engines per year.
Among the unique features on the engine are an intake manifold pipes cast into the block, a vestige from the original prototype that used a combined head and block. The engine is capable of forced induction, but a supercharger apparently provides greater results. The engine can be packaged in nearly any configuration, and displacement has grown from 1.2L to 1.3L and now makes 47 horsepower, or 67 with the aide of a supercharger.
[Source: Inside Line]
Having a little fun in their own backyard, Lotus has lent out a brand new Evora to the UK Police Force, more specifically the Central Motorway Police Group. Lotus’ hot new sports car features the traditional British Police flair on the exterior, including neon yellow accents contrasted by a dark, rich blue.
The themed Evora was introduced at this week’s Autosport International Show, and upon the show’s closing the keys will be handed over to West Midland’s police force who will put the Evora to the test for two weeks.
Gino Rosato, Director of Corporate Operations at Lotus comments: “Lotus is proud to take part in this and similar initiatives to help create a safer road culture for our customers and other road users. We believe that you do not have to compromise fun for speed and to that effect we build sportscars that are fun to drive within legal limits! We will be working with Officers from CMPG to teach them how to get the best from the Lotus Evora at our test track to ensure that any high-speed activity is as safe and effective as possible.”
PC Steven Rounds from, CMPG said: “The Lotus is a visually stunning machine which offers us the opportunity to engage with the public, reinforce and promote the life-saving messages of road safety.”
GALLERY: Lotus Evora UK Police Car
Although the onslaught of all-new Lotus products is still years away, the company is apparently plotting to inject some new blood into the company portfolio in advance of their rebooting as a brand.
The mid-size Evora will allegedly get a refresh in 2012, about a year after the new, more powerful Evora S debuts. The main focus of the updates will be the cabin, in an effort to bring them up to the standards of Porsche, Audi and Mercedes-Benz, the eventual targets for the new Lotus lineup.
Also rumored is a new Exige, which may debut at the Geneva Auto Show, although details have yet to be revealed.
Looking to perhaps grow the Lotus name in the land of exotics, Lotus has just announced a deal with Hertz Italiana S.p.A. to offer the new coupe for rent in Italy.
“I am delighted that Lotus has renewed this agreement with Hertz and we’ve been given the opportunity to make our stunning world class sports car available to the luxury rental market. The iconic, lightweight mid-engined rear wheel drive configuration performs like no other and the 2+2 seated Lotus Evora is the perfect choice for those who desire exclusive and high performance motoring. Driving an Evora during a weekend will be an unforgetable experience for any sports car enthusiast,” said Lotus CEO Dany Bahar.
In the past several U.S. rental car agencies offered the Elise to rent (and we took full advantage). We’d like to see the Evora at our local Hertz too!
Of all the automakers that offer winter driving schools, Lotus seems like the worst fit. With their famous British reliability and bare metal cabin surfaces, the prospect of driving a Lotus in freezing temperatures strikes us as a task fit for British masochists like Max Mosley.
But with Lotus’ re-branding, a new emphasis on the “lifestyle” aspects of the company and the Evora’s actual inclusion of fabric and leather interior trim pieces, taking one of the mid-engined supercars out for a jaunt in the snow may not be so punishing anymore.
At their new Finnish facility 60 km south of the Arctic Circle, guests will learn to deal with understeer, oversteer, steering and throttle techniques and also be able to partake in activities like ice fishing, snowmobiling and “reindeer driving”. We’d gladly pay the $2895 entry fee for that activity alone.