Lotus unveiled its quickest and most expensive series production car ever, the 3-Eleven, at the 2015 Goodwood Festival of Speed. The new vehicle features an all-new lightweight body, with an open cockpit design and a revised supercharged, charge-cooled, 3.5-litre V6 engine developing 450 hp. Maximum torque stands at 450 Nm, with all of the twist available from 3500 rpm through to 6500 rpm.
Two variations of the Lotus 3-Eleven will be available: Road and Race. Based on the Road version, the Race includes a more aggressive aero kit, a sequential gearbox and an FIA approved driver’s seat with a six-point harness. Apropos to being the quickest Lotus production car ever, the 3-Eleven laps the Hethel track in 1 min 22 secs, while generating aerodynamic downforce of up to 215 kg at 240 km/h for the Race version.
For the Road Version, power is sent to the rear wheels via a close-ratio six-speed manual gearbox with a Torsen-type limited slip differential, featuring a performance clutch assembly and oil cooler. The Race model has a 6-speed sequential transmission with a semi-dry sump, oil cooler, limited slip differential and paddle shift. Limited Slip Differential comes as standard for both versions, along with a Lotus traction control system.
Designed to cope with the 3-Eleven’s potential, lightweight forged Aluminium wheels are fitted as standard on the 3-Eleven, with either Michelin Pilot Super Sport or Michelin Cup 2 tyres depending on if it’s in Road or Race configuration. At the front 225/40 ZR18 tyres are standard, and to help transfer the 3-Eleven’s considerable power and torque to the road, the rear tyres has been specified as 275/35 ZR19.
Deceleration duties are acted out by AP Racing four-piston calipers, which are complemented by two-part grooved and vented brake discs (332 mm front and rear). Upgraded brake pads are fitted to the Race version. Manufactured from very light weight composite materials, optimizing vehicle weight, aerodynamic and structural requirements, the 3-Eleven’s composite body is 40% lighter than the GRP equivalent.
With a dry weight of below 900 kg (Race version), the 3-Eleven offers an impressive power to weight ratio, in excess of 500 hp per tonne, and is capable of sprinting from 0-60 mph in less than 3.0 seconds before reaching a maximum speed of 174 mph (280 km/h) for the Race version and 180 mph (290 km/h) for the Road version.
Speaking at Goodwood, Jean-Marc Gales, Chief Executive Officer for Group Lotus plc, stated, “We always say that to make a sports car better, you make it faster and lighter. The new Lotus 3-Eleven carries that philosophy to a new level, and is perfectly in keeping with our brand values.”
Jean-Marc Gales continued, “This new car is a giant slayer, capable of embarrassing far more expensive rivals. It condenses our engineering know-how into one, hard-core package, and is so focused that it won’t suit everyone. This is a perfect demonstration of the faster and lighter concept, something which will be crucial to all Lotus cars in the future.”
The 3-Eleven is fitted with the standard aero-screen and the optional passenger seat, a passenger can be easily accommodated in the two seater. However, these can be removed and the optional tonneau panel fitted – to envelope the driver and improve overall aerodynamics.
The new instrument cluster has been designed around a colour TFT screen, and can be switched between road and track modes, providing relevant information direct to the driver.
A quick release steering wheel and Lotus sports seats with four-point harnesses are fitted as standard, while the Race variant has the option of a data logger system, FIA approved driver’s race seat, and six-point harness – as well as a fire extinguisher & battery kill switch.
The new Lotus 3-Eleven will enter production in February 2016 and deliveries will commence in April 2016. Production will be limited to just 311 vehicles in total.
The Lotus 3-Eleven will be hand made at the Lotus Headquarters in Hethel, alongside the rest of the Lotus sports car range, supported by Lotus Motorsport technicians. All 3-Elevens will then be finished in Lotus Motorsport’s dedicated workshops prior to delivery.
Prices start at £82,000 for the Road version (including VAT and on the road costs) and £96,000 excluding VAT for the Race version (£115,200 including VAT).