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Lotus founder Colin Chapman used to say: “First, add lightness. If you make a car more powerful it will go faster on the straights; if you make it lighter, it will go faster everywhere.”
That’s just what Lotus has done with the the latest racing version of the Lotus Evora and, even before it was officially announced, it has found a couple of customers.
The Evora GTC is a development of the current GT4 Enduro with carbon-fibre doors, roof and engine cover in place of fibreglass panels, and polycarbonate side and rear window instead of glass.
Overall weight is about 1130kg, depending on customer specification - that's about 30kg lighter than the GT4.
Engine and gearbox remain unchanged: a 336kW/460Nm, four-litre V6 driving the rear wheels through an Xtrac six-speed sequential paddle-shift gearbox.
But, under the new wheel-arch flares are wider rims and tyres - 27/65-18 in front and 30/65-18 at rear, controlled by a new 'intelligent' traction control and Bosch racing anti-lock brakes.
The first customers for the new GTC are US team McMahon Raceworks, who have ordered a car built to US Grand Am regulations, to be run in the Rolex Sports Car with drivers Armando Trentini and Silvana di Feo.
Trentini and David McMahon spent two days last week driving a demo GTC at the Lotus' Hethel test track in uncomfortably wet conditions, which at least demonstrated the improved road-holding conferred by the wider rubber and uprated electronics.
Meanwhile, British endurance racing outfit Team Bullrun's Evora GT4 will be brought up to full GTC specifications in June. This car, driven by Richard Adams, David Green and Martin Byford, has been used as a flying test bed for GTC development components. It won the Silverstone round of the Britcar MSA Endurance Championship in April, and is leading the championship.
MAKING ITS MARK
Lotus Racing director Claudio Berro said: “Team Bullrun's upgrade will be completed in June when there's an appropriate lull in their racing schedule. The car's weight-saving and improved grip and braking abilities should help increase the gap between them and the teams chasing them in the championship.
“We're also very pleased to welcome McMahon Raceworks to Lotus and will provide them with a car adapted to US competition regulations; we look forward to seeing the GTC make its mark in Grand-Am racing.”