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Lotus builds F1 'customer car'

2010-08-10 07:29

Developed independently from the Lotus F1 racing effort, Hethel’s new T125 customer car is simply the ultimate trackday toy.

Vehicle Specs
Manufacturer Lotus
Model T125
Engine 3.5l V8
Power 470kW @ 10 300r/min
Transmission Six-spee semi-auto
Weight 650kg
Think you are quicker than Vettel?

Thanks to Lotus, you may soon have the opportunity to prove it with the company’s latest product offering.

Hethel’s impeccable engineering department revealed its latest customer offering this weekend at the Monterey motorsports pre-reunion on Saturday - an F1 car for the masses.

Called the Exos T125, this is the most expensive four-wheeled toy ever assembled by Lotus and doubles as the ultimate trackday machine.

Classic Cosworth V8

In terms of specification the T125 is built roughly to last season’s F1 chassis dimensions and aerodynamic specifications, with some liberties taken to ensure as finessed (and classic) a look as possible.

Proportionally, it is 4.91m nose-to-tail, 1.89m across and 1m top-to-bottom.

The T125’s carbon-fibre monocoque features a contemporary shark nose profile (underlined by an elaborate front wing), whilst a narrower aft wing endows the car with a characteristic coke-bottle shape.

A top-exit exhaust and shark fin engine vents round-off the T125’s F1 styling cues.

Powering the T125 is Cosworth’s venerable 3.5l V8 engine (a stalwart F1 powerplant of the early 1990s) detuned to produce 470kW at 10 300r/min. Drive is to the rear differential via a six-speed semi-automatic transmission actuated by shift-paddles housed behind a six-spoke steering wheel.

Admittedly the T125’s engine is a touch less powerful than what Michael Schumacher had at his disposal when a 3.5l Cosworth V8 gained him his first world championship, yet the Exos is only 650kg. Suffice to say – the power to weight ratio is rather favourable.  

In fact, it is hard to imagine anything else with four-wheels not being lapped by potential T125 owners at a trackday event. With in-board pushrods controlling the composite suspension components and carbon-ceramic brake rotors hiding behind each wheel the T125’s dynamics should perform true to the car’s F1 billing.

To ensure ease of use the Cosworth engine has a starter motor and has been sufficiently detuned to ensure it has an endurance of 4 500km before requiring a rebuild.

A good deal?

Commercially Lotus hopes to sell 25 Exos T125s next year, retailing at a princely $1m a piece.

Included in the purchase price are five driver events, where Exos owners will have the opportunity to get up to pace at a circuit under the tutelage of some Lotus F1 old boys.

Cynics will be quick to point out that the Exos is one of the most devious (and clever) methods yet devised to circumvent F1's current testing ban...

The Exos may appear to be a foolishly extravagant indulgence, yet where else can one purchase your own F1 racer and drive it without an FIA super-license or entourage of technical staff?

There are F1 cars on auction from time to time yet in full competition trim the laborious preparation required to just start one defeats any joy of ownership.

The Lotus Exos provides as much F1 performance as any keen driver could ever safely exploit, albeit in a far more durable package.

Once again Lotus proves that when it comes to satisfying even the most outlandish customer demands, it is never found wanting.

Colin Chapman would most definitely have approved, especially seeing as the Exos nomenclature references the original Lotus 25, F1’s first-ever monocoque racer. Lotus will finish your T125 in any colour or livery you’d like too, including the original F1 team’s JPS, Camel or contrasting green and gold design.

Is the T125 is a very smart way for Lotus to conduct 'illegal' F1 testing? Agree or disagree here...


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