Following up on the extreme 2-Eleven of a few years ago, Lotus has revealed the track-focused 3-Eleven at the 2015 Goodwood Festival of Speed. Based around a lightweight chassis, the car is the quickest and most expensive offering to date from the British sports car maker. It's also one of the most powerful.
The new Lotus 3-Eleven will be available in two configurations: Road and Race. Both versions are built on an extruded and bonded aluminum chassis with an integrated roll cage. Lightweight body panels are constructed of a new resin infusion composite technology that is said to be 40 percent lighter than GRP (glass reinforced plastic). The Lotus 3-Eleven features an open-cockpit design. The roll cage in the Road version features twin side bars for side impact protection, while the Race roll cage with more bars meets motorsports rules.
Power comes from a revised Toyota-sourced 3.5-liter V-6 engine that's been supercharged and intercooled and is rated 450 hp at 7,000 rpm and 332 lb-ft of torque from 3,500 rpm to 6,500 rpm. The Road version features a six-speed manual transmission with a performance clutch assembly, oil cooler, and a Torsen limited-slip differential, while the Race variant features a six-speed sequential transmission with a semi-dry sump, oil cooler, paddle shifters, and a limited-slip differential.
The Race version has a dry weight of 1,980 pounds giving the Lotus 3-Eleven a power-to-weight ratio of 4.4 pounds per horsepower. Lotus claims the 3-Eleven can hit 60 mph in less than 3.0 seconds. Top speed for the Race version is said to be 174 mph, while the Road version can reach 180 mph. The 3-Eleven is said to lap the Hethel track in 1 minute, 22 seconds, making it the quickest production Lotus to date.
Suspension bits consist of a lightweight, double-wishbone setup front and rear with Eibach springs and Öhlins adjustable dampers. The front anti-roll bar is adjustable. The 3-Eleven rides on a set of lightweight forged alloy wheels wrapped in Michelin Pilot Super Sport tires or Michelin Cup 2 tires sized 225/40ZR18 up front and 273/35ZR19 out back. Braking duties are handled by a Lotus-tuned Bosch ABS system and AP Racing four-piston calipers and two-piece 13.0-inch slotted and vented rotors. The Race variant features upgraded pads.
In addition to its beefier roll cage, the Race version of the Lotus 3-Eleven features a more aggressive aerodynamic kit as well as an FIA-approved driver’s seat with six-point harness. The Race version is said to create up to 473 pounds of downforce at 150 mph.
The dramatic styling and shape of the Lotus 3-Eleven is said to reduce drag, optimize cooling, and increase downforce. Aerodynamic bits include Road- or Race-specific front splitters, fender arches, side scallops, under tray with rear diffuser, and choice of model-specific rear spoilers. Even the roll cage is said to improve aerodynamics. The open car doesn’t include a windshield or doors.
Inside, the Lotus 3-Eleven features a race-spec color TFT instrument cluster with road and track modes and a quick-release steering wheel. An aeroscreen is standard, while a passenger seat is optional. An optional tonneau cover can be fitted over the passenger side to further improve aerodynamics. A data logger system, fire extinguisher, and battery kill switch are available on the Race version.
The Lotus 3-Eleven will be hand-built in Hetel, England with production beginning February 2016 with deliveries in April. Production is limited to just 311 units. Pricing for the Road version starts at £82,000 including VAT or about $128,900, while the Race version starts at £115,200 including VAT or about $180,800.