If you think that this talk of lap times, larger front tyres and Cup suspension has given the Cup 250 a different character from less aggressive Elise models, you’d be right.

For the most part, Elises are delicate cars to drive, with light, ultra-accurate and rarely corrupted steering and a ride that’s scarcely credible for a lightweight sports car. The Cup is prepared to sacrifice some of that for lap times.

With warmed tyres, there’s barely a hint of the Elise’s tail stepping out on the exit of the hairpin — rare indeed for a performance car

Part of that is due to the springs and dampers and adjustable anti-roll bar, no doubt, but we strongly suspect the Yokohama tyres and their new-found width at the front are equally responsible.

The basic Elise themes are still there: it’s light and feels it, and it’s agile, but on the road, part of what makes the Elise so Elisey has given way to heavier steering.

It’s still feelsome and accurate – perhaps even more so than usual – but it’s also heavy, almost fearsomely so at parking speeds, and it gets knocked around by lumps and cambers far more than in any other Elise.

The ride, too, is firmer, more brittle and more attacked by cambers on the kind of road that lesser Elises shimmy down with their wheels deftly and quickly nudging up into the wheel arches.

The Elise has road poise to spare, of course, and despite the hunkering down the chassis receives here, it’s still a vastly more habitable, mature car than the 4C. But it has been designed with the track in mind.

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And it’s on track that it really comes alive. It generates terrific cornering forces, so the steering’s heft doesn’t disappear at speed. It remains heavy wherever you are.

But the balance is spot on, there’s less initial understeer than an Elise usually dishes out and the warnings it gives you that grip is about to run out are telegraphed supremely well.

The Cup 250 is all about the dry circuit, and we didn’t test it on the newly laid and reopened (and, at the moment, far too grippy) wet circuit at MIRA.

In the dry, though, you’re looking at a car with such prodigious track performance that it’s 0.2sec quicker around our own Dunlop handling circuit configuration than a Caterham Seven 620S - despite being at a big disadvantage to the Seven on power-to-weight ratio.

Yes, the S is the softer, more approachable version of the 620, but it’s worth remembering that it’s still a 610kg car that has 310bhp.

True, the Elise generates loads of lateral grip — 1.2g — but the real reason it’s so fast is that it’s quick to change direction, has bags of traction because of where the engine is and has an exceptional braking system.