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Lotus tips 3-Eleven for ’Ring mastery

Winged wonder: The Lotus 3-Eleven Race is said to generate up to 215kg of downforce and be capable of 1.5g of lateral force in the corners.

Sub-seven second lap is Lotus goal for its hot 3-Eleven at the Nurburgring


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14 Jan 2016

LOTUS predicts its fastest model, the 3-Eleven, will be capable of a sub-seven-minute lap of Germany’s Nurburgring, putting it in rare company with supercars such as the Lamborghini Aventadore LP 750-4 Superveloce and Porsche 918 Spyder.

Officially, only four cars have managed to crack the seven-minute barrier on the 20.8km Nordschleife track that is regarded as the definitive test of vehicle speed and handling competence.

Based on the Elise but with a super-light speedster-style open body, the 3-Eleven is now on sale in the United Kingdom, with first deliveries scheduled for March.

Production will be limited to 311 units, with none destined for Australia, at least via official importer European Automotive Importers.

The 3-Eleven comes in two varieties – Road and Race – with the latter weighing just 890kg and powered by a 336kW/450Nm version of Lotus’s highly modified, Toyota-based supercharged 3.5-litre V6.

It is said to be capable of blasting from zero to 100km/h in about three seconds and on to a top speed of 290km/h.

The slightly heavier (925kg) and less powerful (305kW) Road version makes the 0-100km/h dash about four tenths of second slower, but that still puts it in Porsche 911 GT3 league.

Announcing the start of sales in the UK, Group Lotus CEO Jean-Marc Gales said few cars on the market could match the 3-Eleven in looks, speed and lap times.

“The 3-Eleven is the perfect car for a fast lap at the Nürburgring and is a sub seven-minute car in favourable conditions a time like this puts the 3-Eleven firmly into hypercar territory,” he said.

Lotus says the 3-Eleven Race is already the fastest car ever tested at the company’s Hethel test circuit, lapping in 1 min 19.5 sec.

At Nurburgring, the fastest lap by a production car is said to be a 6:48.0 by English-built road-legal race car, the Radical SR8LM in 2009.

Its less serious stablemate, the Radical SR8, earlier achieved a 6:56.08 lap in 2005, while more recently, the hybrid petrol-electric Porsche 918 supercar did it in 6:57.00, while more recently again, Lamborghini’s Aventador LP 750-4 Superveloce clocked the clocks at 6:59.73 this year.

Lotus has not said when it might tackle “the green hell” with the 3-Eleven, or who will drive it.

A massive rear wing, race-style front splitter, twin front canards and sculpted bodywork on the Race version are said to generate up to 215kg of downforce, making the sportscar capable of cornering with lateral acceleration of 1.5g.

Weight-saving measures include carbon-composite body panels in place of the usual Lotus fibreglass panels, and a lithium-ion battery developed for motorsport.

The 3-Eleven Race gets a six-speed sequential transmission, with the Road has a six-speed manual gearbox and Torsen-type limited-slip differential.

In the UK, the Road sells for £82,500 driveaway ($A171,115), while the Race starts at £97,083 ($A201,414).

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