There's no better place to debut a track-only race car than a racetrack. Obviously.
When we saw the reveal of the Lotus Emira back in July of last year, we were very excited about the future of the British automaker. We weren't the only ones, and after we got to listen to the new sports car ripping around Laguna Seca, it became clear that the Emira sounds as good as it looks. With lightweight construction, great chassis tuning, and compact proportions, this is the kind of thing perfectly suited to a racetrack. That's because Lotus always intended to offer it as a race car and confirmed as much when revealing a concept version in September. Now the niche automaker has revealed the production version of the Emira GT4, and it's fantastic.
The car was unveiled in the perfect setting: the iconic Hethel test track owned by Lotus. Earlier this week, VIP guests were given shotgun rides around the facility in the new racer that "marks the start of an exciting new era in performance GT racing for Lotus." It is the first new model from Lotus Advanced Performance, which finished the bodywork in advanced composite materials. This was contrasted by the appearance of a Lotus Type 30 sports racer from 1965 that showed just how long the brand has been interested in lightweight performance motoring, particularly on the racetrack. Colin Chapman would be proud of this return to motorsport, but enough about the past. What does the Emira GT4 offer?
The engine is the bigger Toyota-sourced 3.5-liter supercharged V6 rather than the base model's AMG-sourced 2.0-liter turbo-four. In this application, the car produces 400 horsepower, but that could change if its lightweight construction gives it too much of an edge over other GT4 entrants. An Xtrac six-speed sequential transmission with paddle shifters and a limited-slip differential handles output to the rear axle while a double-wishbone suspension setup for both the front and rear is complemented by two-way adjustable Ohlins TTx dampers and a set of front and rear anti-roll bars. Forged aluminum construction defines the 18-inch wheels which are wrapped in Pirelli GT4 rubber. An FIA-approved six-point roll cage is paired with an FIA-compliant HANS-approved seat with a six-point harness. The usual fire suppression systems are there too.
As for cost, the price starts at £165,000 (around $205,000 at the time of writing). Lotus hasn't suggested a production limit and will make just about as many as customers request. Hopefully, the customers will be as plentiful as they once were in the Chapman era.