Happenings

Mad, Mad Lotus: The Exige Cup 430

BY Azfar Hashim

This full-production model is the most extreme Exige ever conceived by Lotus, offering 407 hp/tonne

The new series production Exige Cup 430 is Lotus’ wildest incarnation of its fire-breathing, point-to-point two-seater sports car. New to the Exige family, the Cup 430 sees the introduction of a savage, high-performance engine installation mated to a new supercharger and charge cooler, designed specifically for the unique demands of this vehicle. A development of the powertrain recently used on the Lotus Evora GT430, it’s perfectly paired with a newly-designed body, which delivers enhanced aerodynamic performance to reveal the model’s true potential.

With 430 hp at 7,000 rpm and 440 Nm of torque from 4,000 rpm, 0-100 km/h is dispatched in 3.3 seconds with a top speed of 290 km/h. Helping to harness all that power is a comprehensive range of new aero elements - a new ultra-lightweight front clam with unique carbon fibre ducts has wider radiator apertures and a new mesh pattern grille to provide a more combative aspect and to allow for a new front splitter and air curtain mechanism to reduce drag. The lightweight rear clam panel supports the larger, straight motorsport wing to increase downforce without impacting the car’s overall drag coefficient. The new design front and rear clam panels are 6.8 kg lighter than those on any other Exige.

Lotus’ expertise in lightweight design has played its part in reducing the overall dry weight by 12 kg to 1,059 kg, with the vehicle down to 1,056 kg in its lightest configuration. This, combined with the dramatic jump in raw power, raises the Cup’s power to weight from 355 hp / tonne (Cup 380) to 407 hp / tonne.

Focused fairly and squarely on aggressive track performance and point-to-point supremacy, the new Lotus Exige Cup 430 is capable of covering the Hethel circuit in 1 minute 24.8 seconds – the fastest production car to lap the famous circuit – 1.2 seconds faster than a road-going Lotus 3-Eleven.

In addition to revised steering arm geometry, to increase bump steer, the car’s handling characteristics can be altered via the introduction of new Nitron three-way adjustable dampers (adjustable for rebound and low and high-speed compression, giving the ability to fine tune the damping) and Eibach adjustable front and rear anti-roll bars, both as standard.

Michelin Pilot Sport Cup 2 tyres (215/45 ZR17 front and 285/30 ZR18 rear) are fitted to ultra-lightweight forged alloy wheels, available in red, black or silver as standard.

The Lotus Exige Cup 430 includes a variable traction control function, linked directly to the ECU. The six-position rotary switch is located on the steering column, and only active with ESP switched to off, with five pre-set traction levels (1%, 3%, 6%, 9%, 12% slip) as well as “off”, displayed via the instrument cluster.