British sports car manufacturer Lotus has revealed its new track-focused car. It is called 3-Eleven and what a car this is. It is quickest and most expensive series production Lotus ever built, with a revised V6 supercharged engine developing 450 hp, open cockpit design and a 0-60 mph sprint in less than 3 seconds. This quick and angry Lotus comes in two versions and, surprisingly, can be legally used on road as well.
Well, at least one of the versions can. 3-Eleven comes as Road and Race models. Of course, race version is more aggressive – it has additional features for improved aerodynamics, a sequential gearbox and an FIA approved driver’s seat with a six-point harness. In other regards, these versions are rather similar, which just underlines how extreme the 3-Eleven is. Extreme properties of the car are immediately seen just by looking at the car.
The body is made from lightweight composites and, although it looks similar to Lotus’ Exige, all body panels are completely new. 3-Eleven has a very innovative body as it is 40 % lighter than equivalent body made from other materials.
Racing version only weighs about 900 kilograms and road version is not much heavier. It was achieved through using new resin infusion composite technology. The whole styling of the car is very aggressive, to emphasize the racing character of the 3-Eleven – it features extreme aero kit with front splitter, big fixed rear spoiler and diffuser. The entire body is sculpted to combine function and style – it provides downforce and safety for the occupant of the vehicle, as well as creates an unforgettable image of the car.
3-Eleven features an open cockpit design and is mainly focused around the driver. Actually, passenger seat is only optional and can be left out and tonneau panel can be fitted to envelope the driver and improve overall aerodynamics. The information is provided to the driver through new race spec colour TFT instrument cluster, which can be switched between road and track modes. Car also has a quick release steering wheel and Lotus sports seats with four-point harnesses. All of this is directed to chase optimal lap times and to make car perform as well as it truly can.
And it is already hunting for lap records, setting a new one at Lotus’ own Hethel track at 1 minute and 22 seconds. Maximum speeds are 174 mph (280 km/h) and 180 mph (290 km/h) for race and road version respectively. It is made possible by the revised powertrain.
3-Eleven is powered by usual supercharged and charge-cooled 3.5-litre V6 engine, which was first shown in the Evora 400, which includes a supercharger with integrated water-to-air charge cooler. It has a respectable power output of 450 hp at 7000 rpm and torque of 450 Nm from 3500 rpm through to 6500 rpm.
Road version has a close-ratio six-speed manual gearbox, while a racing 3-Eleven features a 6-speed sequential transmission. Both of them have a limited slip differential and Lotus traction control system. To put this performance down car is fitted with lightweight forged Aluminium wheels with either Michelin Pilot Super Sport or Michelin Cup 2 tyres depending on if it’s in Road or Race configuration.
Lotus 3-Eleven is extreme track weapon, which is also good to look at. Only 311 cars will be built. However, serious toys come with serious price tags – 3-Eleven costs from £82,000 (€115 620.88) for the Road version and £115,200 (€162 433.24) for the Race version. But Chief Executive Officer for Group Lotus plc, Jean-Marc Gales, said that “this new car is a giant slayer, capable of embarrassing far more expensive rivals”. It represents Lotus brand values well and, hopefully, will help this legendary automotive name regain its former glory as company is still facing financial difficulties.