The Lotus Elise Race 250 Is Coming To America But There's A Catch

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Hey, it's better than nothing.

Lotus may have recently started development of a completely new Elise, but we're not expecting to see it before 2020. In the meantime, Lotus continues to evolve and improve the existing Elise. Thing is, it's not sold in the US because it no longer meets US safety regulations, among other things. But for those still interested in having one exclusively for track purposes, the solution has just arrived. Lotus has just unveiled the Elise 250 Race, a track-only demon that will be sold to US buyers.

Just as important, this is the fastest Elise track car to date, lapping the UK-based company's Hethel test track in 1:33.50, which is half a second quicker than the previous Elise Cup 220 R (pictured here in white). Bottom line: it has the fastest recorded lap time for a Lotus-developed race-variant of the Elise. Power comes from the familiar 1.8-liter supercharged four-cylinder paired to a six-speed manual gearbox. Total output is 243 hp and 184 lb-ft of torque. May not sound like all that much, but the car has a dry weight of only 1,984 lbs. This was achieved by the freak scientists at Lotus' "Lightweight Laboratory."

Sticking with the "Simplify, then add lightness" Colin Chapman philosophy, the team tossed in a lithium Ion battery over the standard battery, saving 22 lbs, and carbon fiber racing seats, shaving off another 13 lbs. Ultra-lightweight forged alloy wheels are also standard. For those looking for maximum weight savings, there's the Carbon Aero Pack. It replaces the standard front splitter, rear wing, rear diffuser and side floor-extensions with lightweight carbon components and reduces mass by a further 22 lbs. Other standard bits include adjustable dampers, uprated brake pads, FIA-approved carbon fiber race seats with six-point racing harnesses, a removable steering wheel and even a polycarbonate rear windscreen. Pricing starts at $76,200.

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