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Lotus Esprit

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About Lotus Esprit


The Lotus Esprit (es-pree) is a sports car that was built by Lotus in the United Kingdom between 1976 and 2004, as well as a future release in 2013. The silver Italdesign concept that eventually became the Esprit was unveiled at the Turin Motor Show in 1972 as a concept car, and was a development of a stretched Lotus Europa chassis. It was among the first of designer Giorgetto Giugiaro's polygonal "folded paper" designs. Originally, the name Kiwi was proposed, but in keeping with the Lotus tradition of having all car model names start with the letter "E", the name became Esprit.

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Jay Leno goes old school with 1966 Lotus Elan 26R

Mon, 31 Mar 2014 19:15:00 EST

On the latest episode of Jay Leno's Garage the guest's are both from inside the garage: the man they call Professor Jim Hall, Leno's master fabricator, and the 1966 Lotus 26R that he spent 18 months building. The Elan 26R was the racing version of the Elan that Lotus founder Colin Chapman began building after watching privateer teams prep their roadgoing Elans for competition duty all over Europe. Built by the factory from 1964-1966, drivers like Jim Clark and Jackie Stewart won silverware in the roadster called "the giant killer."
Hall, a veteran Lotus wrench, started with the 1966 Elan street car and turned it into a 26R that's arguably better than the factory original. Except for the engine block and head, original 26R body and Elan chassis, just about everything is custom built, highly modified or special order, from the fabricated oil pan, brake lines, safety wiring and oval exhaust tubing to the six-speed sequential transmission.
The episode is an unusually-long 21 minutes because, as an in-house build, Leno can go through the process of putting the whole roadster together. When he takes it for a drive and keeps going on about how it sings, you can hear it, too. It's worth the time to check out Mr. Hall's Opus in the video below.

Lotus Motorcycles C-01 now 'ready for the road'

Thu, 20 Feb 2014 19:16:00 EST

When we first laid eyes on leaked images of the Lotus Motorcycles C-01, we wondered if its laid-back, sport cruiser shape was really appropriate for a motorcycle bearing any connection with Colin Chapman and the company's famous "add lightness" mantra. We've now seen official pictures of the bike in multiple color schemes, including classic black and gold, British racing green and even a variant that resembles Martini livery, and while we think it looks pretty cool, our opinion hasn't really changed.
Perhaps we shouldn't be surprised that the C-01 isn't an embodiment of the Lotus ethos, as the company that intends to build it isn't really Lotus at all, its builders - German racing firm Kodewa and tuner Holzer Group - merely having licensed the name of the British sportscar maker. It was designed by Daniel Simon, who once worked for Volkswagen and consulted for Bugatti and is the man credited with creating the reborn Tron Light Cycles. Still, looking past its questionable heritage, the C-01 looks pretty darn awesome, and there are some interesting bits that have us looking forward to the production version that's reportedly due within the next two months.
As expected, power comes in at 200 horsepower, courtesy of a modified version of KTM's 1,195-cc V-twin engine. The chassis is made up of steel, titanium and carbon fiber, with a seat height of about 28 inches. Its wheelbase, at about 65 inches, is a full 10 inches longer than a real street-legal superbike, and its front end is raked way out in front with a 19-inch wheel. Those dimensions mean we shouldn't expect much racetrack prowess, unless its rider is only planning on going in a straight line. Indeed, with a claimed dry weight of under 400 pounds, the Lotus Motorcycles C-01 ought to be mighty quick down the quarter mile.

Lotus stepping up to LMP1 in World Endurance Championship

Tue, 18 Feb 2014 08:01:00 EST

Only a couple of years ago, it looked like the top tier of prototype endurance racing was in trouble. Peugeot shut down its program, leaving the LMP1 category all to Audi to dominate. Only six cars entered the Petit Le Mans in 2012, and the season was cut short. But the top class in the FIA World Endurance Championship has since blossomed. And it only looks poised to grow further.
Audi and Toyota will each be back on the grid this season, joined by Porsche. But the latest news has Lotus stepping up to the big leagues also. (Well, sorta: the German-run squad uses the Lotus name and colors, but has no more to do with the automaker than the Formula One team of the same name.)
The Lotus LMP1 will be based on the same Lola-based T129 chassis used until now in the LMP2 class, with former F1 driver Christijan Albers leading the driver lineup. In addition to Audi, Toyota and Porsche, the solitary Lotus entry will also compete against privateer Rebellion Racing in a nine-car LMP1 grid throughout the season.

Lotus F1 apologizes for tweeting support for LGBT Olympians

Mon, 10 Feb 2014 19:30:00 EST

The Lotus Formula One Team is apologizing after its official Twitter account posted this image of two men kissing in connection to the opening of the Winter Olympics on Friday, February 7. It claims that the original tweet was "unauthorized."
The tweet, which Lotus deleted later that day, can be viewed to the right and was promptly replaced an apology that said, "We would like to sincerely apologise for an unauthorized message posted on our Twitter account today & will ensure this cannot happen again." Responses to the kerfuffle on its Twitter page have mostly focused on confusion as to what the original tweet was and why it was removed.
While the Sochi Olympics have been controversial among LBGT groups because of Russia's laws banning so-called "gay propaganda," the country has a growing importance in F1. In fact, the first Russian Grand Prix is scheduled to run later this season on a circuit around the Sochi Olympic Park. Genii Capital, the team's owner, has business interests in Russia, and according to the BBC, the Lotus F1 team is working on a deal to with Russian mobile phone company Yotaphone to sell it 10 percent of the team.

Why all of this year's F1 noses are so ugly [w/video]

Fri, 31 Jan 2014 19:31:00 EST

If you're a serious fan of Formula One, you already know all about The Great Nosecone Conundrum of 2014. Those given to parsing each year's F1 regulations predicted the strong possibility of the so-called "anteater" noses as far back as early December 2013. Highly suggestive visual evidence first came after Caterham's crash test in early January, with further proof coming as soon as Williams showed a rendering of the FW36 challenger for this year's championship. That car earned a name that wasn't nearly so kind as "anteater."
Casual followers of the sport - or anyone who gets the feed from this site - probably don't know what's happening, except to wonder why the current year's F1 cars are led by appendages that would make Cyrano de Bergerac feel a whole lot better about himself.
The short answer to the question of ugsome F1 noses is "FIA regulations and safety." The reason there are various kinds of ugsome noses is simpler: engineers. The same boffins who have given us advances including carbon fiber monocoques, six-wheeled cars, double diffusers and Drag Reduction Systems are bred to do everything in their power to exploit every possible freedom in the regulations to make the cars they're building go faster - the caveat being that those advances have to work within the overall philosophy of the whole car.

Genii capitalizing on Lotus F1 tech with new sports car?

Fri, 24 Jan 2014 08:45:00 EST

Detractors will tell you that there's little to be applied from Formula One racing to the cars we drive, but what about the cars most of us could only dream of driving? We're talking about supercars from the likes of Ferrari and McLaren - two hugely successful F1 racing teams that have successfully made the transition into building exotic sports cars for the road. And soon there may be one more.
That would be the Lotus F1 Team, which is rumored to be working on a sports car project of its own. Now we know what you might be thinking: Lotus already makes sports cars. Indeed they do, only the F1 team has nothing more to do with the automaker behind the Exige and Evora than the name they share. Today the team (formerly known as Toleman, Benetton and Renault) is owned by Genii Capital, whose chairman Gerald Lopez recently confirmed the rumors to Auto Motor und Sport: "We are going to develop a carbon chassis for a sports car that can be built in large quantities.... But this has nothing to do with Formula 1."
With little to nothing in the way of details available, the circulating rumors had tied the venture to on-again, off-again Italian auto marque De Tomaso. But our source at ATS (which recently bought the rights to the De Tomaso name following Gian Mario Rossignolo's aborted attempt to revive it) firmly denied the prospect of any such collaboration. Spokesmen for the Lotus F1 Team would not divulge any information; neither would the press office for parent company Genii Capital, leaving the door wide open to speculation once again.

Watch the Lotus Esprit evolve from 1976 to 2004

Tue, 21 Jan 2014 17:00:00 EST

Seeing a model as long-lived as the Lotus Esprit evolve over time generally requires some clever photography or graphical work, kind of like this. This video doesn't require any of that trickery, though, because it features every single model year of Espirt in one glorious row of awesome British cars.
Taken at the 2013 Lotus Festival at Brands Hatch in the UK, it features Esprits from 1976 all the way to its last model year in 2004. It really puts into perspective the slow evolution of the mid-engined, wedge-shaped Lotus, as it went from a very 1970s design to something decidedly more modern.
We've got the full video below, which starts with a red 1976 model, travels down the line to a silver 2004 Esprit, and then all the way back to the original. Take a look, and let us know what you think.

Lotus F1 team $186 million in debt

Fri, 17 Jan 2014 08:00:00 EST

The Lotus F1 team has fallen on some hard times. Majority-owned by investment firm Genii Capital and having little to do with the British automaker with which it shares its name, the Enstone-based outfit has been widely reported to be in serious financial trouble. The extent of those difficulties were until now unknown, but a new report from Germany's Auto Motor und Sport reveals that the team is in the red to the tune of £114 million - equivalent to $186 million at today's conversion rates.
The lack in cashflow is widely believed to have been the impetus for Kimi Raikkonen's departure from the team in order to return to cash-rich Ferrari, and was one of the major factors in selecting Pastor Maldonado to replace him instead of a more proven and accomplished driver of Raikkonen's caliber. Maldonado brings with him major sponsorship funds from Venezuelan state oil company PDVSA. In speaking with the German publication, however, Lotus F1 chairman (and Genii co-founder) Gerald Lopez revealed that the lion's share of the team's debt - £80 million or $130 million - is with Genii Capital itself, a negative balance that isn't likely to affect the team's day to day. That leaves about $56 million which the team owes to outside parties, including Raikkonen, who has yet to receive the full pay he was contracted for.
The team has opted to sit out the first test session of the Formula One season at Jerez. Its 2014 chassis isn't ready and, given the relatively cold temperatures at this point in the year, the team wouldn't expect to learn much about tire performance and degradation. As far as the new engine goes, Lopez says that any knowledge gleaned by Red Bull, Toro Rosso and Caterham at the test session will ultimately be shared with Renault and through it back to Lotus as well. Lotus engineers helped develop the new KERS system with Renault regardless, so the team already has the energy-recovery data it needs. The team will instead prepare for the second test session in Bahrain, by which point it aims to have its new car ready to kick off the season. Lopez says that it has secured the funding to offset its costs for the season ahead, and that it is working to pay down its debt.

Lotus C-01 motorcycle shows its carbon-fiber face

Thu, 16 Jan 2014 15:44:00 EST

Well, this isn't exactly what we were expecting. The images you see above come from Motorcycle News in the UK and are apparently official renderings of what the upcoming Lotus C-01 motorcycle will look like. As you can see, it's sort of a power cruiser, with a raked-out front end and extremely wide rubber out back.
Power will reportedly come from a liquid-cooled V-twin engine sourced from KTM, similar to the one used in the Austrian's brand's own RC8R, but tuned to produce around 200 horsepower. It appears that the powertrain and all its related necessities will be housed in a carbon fiber monocoque (whether the bodywork serves as a stressed member or not, we can't say) in a traditional-looking black (really, exposed carbon fiber weave) and yellow color scheme.
From the looks of these renderings, the C-01 might be intended as a competitor for the Ducati Diavel and ought to be very quick in a straight line. We're not so sure that's what a motorcycle wearing the Lotus badge should be, even if its builders are only using the marque's name under license, but we're looking forward to seeing the final result in production trim.

Lotus Exige S tears the roof off

Tue, 14 Jan 2014 18:29:00 EST

Some things just don't make sense. But then we're not sure they really have to. Imagine Porsche took the Cayman, which is essentially the coupe version of the Boxster, and turned it into a convertible. Wouldn't make much sense, would it? Well that's essentially what Lotus did with the creation of the Exige S Roadster.
The Exige, you see, was already the fixed-roof version of the Elise. So what was the point in turning it back into a roadster? That's what our friends at XCar tried to ascertain in the video below. We could tell you what conclusion they arrived at, but that would spoil all the fun. So we'll just let you enjoy the seven-minute clip and see for yourself. Just remember: it doesn't have to make sense. It just has to be a Lotus.