A prototype of the Lotus Sport Exige GT3 race car was unveiled at the annual FIA GT Championship presentation ceremony outside the world famous Casino in Monte Carlo, Monaco on 02 December, 2005. The following day (03 December 2005), the first test for the car took place at the high speed Paul Ricard High Tech Test Track in Southern France under FIA supervision, the first stage in the Lotus Sport Exige GT3 becoming eligible for FIA GT3 competition. This latest FIA series, which will start in 2006, is for race cars that have an equal power to weight, and that have a direct lineage to their road going versions.
The Lotus Sport Exige GT3 entrant has been developed by Lotus Sport, the performance arm of Lotus Cars and is a derivative of the standard Lotus Exige coupe model. Weighing in at approximately 750 kg, it stays true to the ”performance through light weight” core Lotus philosophy. The car uses a race prepared 1.8 2ZZ-GE VVTL-i engine with a Roots type supercharger and air to air intercooler which utilises the Lotus T4e Engine Control Unit to produce 285 hp at 7,800 rpm. This gives an impressive power to weight ratio of 380 hp / tonne or 2.6 kg / PS.
Following a brief shakedown programme at the Lotus Test Track at Hethel, factory test driver Gavan Kershaw carried out final chassis set up work on wet tyres in the morning session at the Paul Ricard official FIA test. This was followed by an outing on slick tyres on a drying track by FIA nominated test driver Christophe Bouchut.
The FIA has announced a five race European championship for the new GT3 class with rounds in the UK, Germany, Belgium, France and Italy. Various national GT Championships are also considering amending their regulations to include a GT3 class.
Like the standard Exige, the Lotus Sport Exige GT3 comes complete with the award-winning light weight bonded aluminium chassis. This is complemented by low weight 5-spoke forged alloy wheels, carbon body panels, and a revised high downforce aerodynamic package incorporating a race front splitter and adjustable carbon fibre rear wing.
An FIA 6-point roll cage, ignition kill switches, and uprated braking and suspension systems including Ohlins 3-way adjustable dampers also feature on the new race car. A 6-speed sequential transmission system, and full data logging system have been fitted to the single-seater prototype vehicle.
Toyota 2ZZ-GE Straight 4
Transverse, Mid Engine
DOHC, 4 Valves per Cylinder
1796 cc / 109.6 in³
82 mm / 3.23 in
85 mm / 3.35 in
212.5 kw / 285 bhp @ 7800 rpm
158.69 bhp per litre
380.0 bhp per tonne
body / frame
Carbon Fibre Body over Aluminium Extruded & Bonded Chassis w/Rear Subframe & FIA 6-point Roll Cage
RWD w/Limited Slip Differential
f brake size
mm / in
r brake size
mm / in
Rack & Pinion
Unequal Wishbones w/Coil-Over Ohlins 3-way adjustable dampers, Adj Anti-Roll Bar
Unequal Wishbones w/Bilstein Gas Dampers, Eibach Coil Springs over Ohlins 3-way adjustable dampers, Adj Anti-Roll Bar