These are the first official pictures of what could be the fastest ever Lotus, the track-biased Circuit Car, due to make its public debut this weekend at the Shelsley Walsh Hill Climb Centenery Festival Meeting.
Weighing in at just 650kg, the Circuit Car is 75kg lighter than the 340R making it the lightest production car yet to be spun off the Elise's extruded and bonded aluminium chassis. Like the 340R, the Circuit Car does without doors and roof, and this time it goes a step further by losing its windscreen and adding a full roll cage. The aerodynamics have received a thorough revamp and power comes from either 189bhp normally aspirated or 243bhp supercharged Toyota four-cylinder engines. Lotus claims that the supercharged car will go from rest to 60mph in under 4.0sec, to 100mph in under 9.0sec, and on to a maximum speed of over 150mph.
The Circuit Car will come as standard with a single seat, although there will be the option of adding a passenger seat to bring a friend along for the ride, and it will be given a Lotus 'E' name or type number before it goes on sale. Though it is designed as a track-day car, the new car will also be offered with an optional 'SVA pack' for road use and only around 100 cars per year are expected to be built, with a likely starting price of around £25,000 when it arrives in mid-2006. The public will see the car for the first time when it is demonstrated on August 19 and 21 by head of product development Tony Shute, the man behind the ultra-lightweight polyeurathane-bodied Exposé.