Lotus Exige Race 380: 998kg racer revealed for 2017 | CAR Magazine

Lotus Exige Race 380: 998kg racer revealed for 2017

Published: 13 January 2017 Updated: 13 January 2017

► Race-only version of the Exige Sport 380
► Dry weight of 998kg, 240kg of downforce
► Eligible for various championships; costs £99,500+VAT

When we drove the Lotus Exige Sport 380, the lighter, faster, angrier version of the Exige 350, we were smitten – it’s arguably the most exciting road cars Lotus makes.

Now there’s an even faster – albeit non road-legal – version. The entirely reasonably named Lotus Exige Race 380 is exactly as billed: an Exige Sport 380 with less weight, more downforce, no numberplates and a lot of racing kit fitted as standard.

Read CAR’s Lotus Exige Sport 380 road car review here

Lotus Exige Race 380

What turns a Lotus Exige Sport 380 into an Exige Race 380?

The dry weight dips just under a tonne, at 998kg, compared to the 380’s 1066kg. This weight reduction is achieved via the deletion of the road car’s headlights and airbags, the fitment of polycarbonate windows, a carbonfibre tailgate and carbonfibre air intake pods.

Downforce has increased to 240kg total at 170mph, with extra vents in the front bodywork and rear bumper reducing pressure around the wheels, and improving engine bay cooling. A generously sized rear wing, diffuser and front splitter help too.

The suspension now includes two-way adjustable Ohlins dampers and adjustable anti-roll bars front and rear, and the drivetrain has been upgraded too: a six-speed sequential gearbox from Xtrac, with carbon paddleshifters, takes the place of the road car’s H-pattern manual ’box – and there’s now a limited-slip differential rather than an open one.

And the usual safety stuff: integrated rollcage, HANS-compatible carbon racing seat, fire extinguisher and battery isolator.

Under the carbon engine cover there’s the same 3.5-litre supercharged V6 as the road car, with its 375bhp and 302lb ft outputs unchanged.

Lotus Exige Race 380

How fast is the Lotus Exige Race 380?

Around the Hethel test track at Lotus HQ it’s 1.5sec quicker than its Lotus Exige Cup R predecessor.

The 0-60mph sprint is done and dusted 3.2sec – the same time as a McLaren F1.

Where can I race it?

The Race 380, which is aimed at teams and individual privateers alike, has been created with the Lotus Cup series in mind (which is franchised into regional championships around the world) – but it’s also eligible for various sports car and GT categories from club level upwards.

It’s priced at £99,500+VAT and deliveries start in May 2017, in time for the 2017-2018 Lotus racing season.

Lotus Exige Race 380

By James Taylor

Former features editor for CAR, occasional racer