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Lotus Cars Australia will enter Targa Tasmania 2009 with its most focussed performance road car ever produced, the Exige Cup 260.
With 192kW and just 890kg from extensive use of carbon fibre and weight saving parts, the Cup 260 is a road legal racecar that Lotus is entering to showcase its supercar performance, without the supercar pricetag.
The Cup 260 uses advanced lightweight components and carbon fibre elements to reduce overall weight from an Exige S by 45kg, bring the total down to just 890kg.
Lightweight wheels with carbon fibre seats, body panels, front splitter, roof scoop, rear wing, dash, roof panel plus a lightweight battery contribute to a five percent weight saving from what is already a supremely light car.
As Lotus founder Colin Chapman famously said: “horsepower makes you fast in a straight line, lightness makes you fast everywhere”.
But lighter weight isn’t the Cup 260’s only trick: ECU and exhaust modifications increase power from the supercharged 1.8-litre four-cylinder to 192kW, from its base of 163kW in the Exige S. Acceleration is superb with launch control helping it to 0-100kmh in just 4.1 seconds.
Lotus Cars Australia General Manager Jonathan Stretton is enthused of the prospect of seeing Lotus compete again: “With the Cup 260, we have the ideal Exige for those with a passion for track days and motorsport. Following customer demand, and the request for a hard-core performance car with dual abilities, the Cup 260 is fully homologated for road registration and opens up a myriad of track day and motorsport options.”
The Cup 260 will race at Targa Tasmania in showroom trim, which includes the factory installed fully adjustable suspension, AP Racing brakes, fire extinguisher and battery cut-out systems – the only addition is a (factory accessory) Lotus Sport roll cage.
“With a number of Lotus Elise and Exige vehicles competing in recent years, we thought Targa Tasmania was perfect timing and an ideal platform to showcase the Cup 260 – it’s been 10 years since a Lotus Elise finished third outright at Targa, so the time was right to show that we are still committed to core Lotus values. Being the Cup 260’s global tarmac rally debut makes it even more special.”
Targa Tasmania is a great challenge and ideal for a car like the Cup 260 to show its potential over 2000km and six days of challenging, twisting and tough roads.
The Lotus has the agility and it also has the grip. The Exige Cup 260 uses an advanced traction control system, where the amount of wheelspin is adjustable through 18 settings via a cockpit dial, and can be changed from corner to corner, for wet or dry. This system is also available as an option on the regular Exige S.
Driving the Cup 260 will be Sydney motoring journalist Dean Evans alongside navigator Simone Bachmann. Having competed in three Mt Buller Sprints in an Elise, Exige and 2-Eleven, the Exige Cup 260 offers the next progression for Lotus at Targa Tasmania, offering a car with true road and track useability.
The Cup 260 retails for $139,900 making it one of the least expensive race-prepared cars to feature in the top of the Targa field. Stretton added: “We’ve always maintained that a Lotus Exige offers supercar performance for a fraction of the price; with the Cup 260 this is more evident than ever.
“We’re looking forward to Targa Tasmania, and competing the new Cup 260 in the environment it was designed for.”
The Lotus Cup 260 entry is supported by SurfaceTech paint protection systems.
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