Hockenheim, Germany - A Lotus 3-Eleven has set the quickest lap time ever recorded by authoritative German magazine 'Sport Auto' around the Hockenheim short circuit.

Road test editor Christian Gebhart took the 3-Eleven round the tight 2.638km circuit in 1m06.19, on standard road tyres, on a chilly spring morning - they didn't measure the track temperature but the ambient air temperature was just eight degrees!

That's a tenth of a second quicker than the previous Hockenheim 'Top Gun', Porche's 652kW 918 Spyder, despite having little more than half the power of the hotshot hybrid from Zuffenhausen - proof positive, if it was needed, of Lotus founder Colin Chapman's statement, “If you make a car more powerful, it will go faster on the straights; if you make it lighter, it will go faster everywhere”.

The extreme, track-focused Lotus 3-Eleven roadster is the fastest street-legal production car yet to come out of the Lotus works at the former RAF Hethel airbase in Norfolk.

It has a fairly modest 3.5-litre supercharged V6 for which Lotus quotes 306kW in road trim and 343kW in track trim, while its chassis is based on the proven Exige design of extruded and bonded aluminium sections and it has an all-new composite roadster body.

Ready for the road, it weighs less than a ton; it'll hit 100km/h off a standing start in 3.4 seconds and top out at 280km/h. Prepped for a flying lap or two at Hockenheim, it clocked in at 890kg, compared to the 918's 1640kg.

The Lotus 3-Eleven is on sale now at £82 500 (R1.84 million) ex works for the Road version and £116 500 (R2.6 million) for the Race model. Production will be strictly limited to 311 examples to be built over the next two years.

HOCKENHEIM SHORT-CIRCUIT TOP 10:

Lotus 3-Eleven - 1:06.19

Porsche 918 Spyder - 1:06.30

Gumpert Apollo - 1:07.20

Radical SR3 SL - 1:08.10

Lamborghini Gallardo Squadra Corse - 1:08.20

Chevrolet Corvette ZR1 - 1:08.30

Ferrari 488 GTB - 1:08.30

Porsche 911 GT2 RS - 1:08.40

Porsche 911 GT3 RS - 1:08.50

Mercedes SLS AMG Black Series - 1:08.60

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