The Lotus 3-Eleven outruns the Porsche 918 Spyder on the world famous Hockenheimring.
Power isn’t everything. Power-to-weight ratio is. The trinity of hypercars, the Porsche 918 Spyder, LaFerrari, and McLaren P1, attack the track with hybrid systems of absolute brute force. Just ten years ago, manufacturers would not have considered making hybrid systems for their hypercars. They are heavier. They are more complex. Now with modern software, they are able to tackle such complexities and enhance power and traction to create controllable track vehicles knocking on the door of 1,000 horsepower.
But, sometimes, simple is best. In fact, creating simple solutions often yields the best results. Lotus does not have the budget of Ferrari, Porsche, or McLaren. They don’t use the complex software behind the advanced hybrid systems of the trinity. Instead, they stuck to their formula, by “adding lightness.”
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In “Race” specification, the Lotus 3-Eleven has a 3.5-liter, supercharged V6 capable of 460 horsepower. The power goes through a 6-speed racing-sequential transmission attached to a lightweight aluminum chassis. This allows for estimated 0-60 mile per hour times of just 3 seconds flat, with a top speed nearing 180 miles per hour. The large rear spoiler, front lip spoiler, and front flics help add approximately 475 pounds of downforce at 149 miles per hour.
"Jean-Marc Gales, CEO of Group Lotus plc said, “Christian set a fabulous lap in less than ideal conditions. We knew from the outset that we have created a simply phenomenal car that is capable of great things, and this lap record proves that beyond doubt. This is the ultimate embodiment of the Lotus design philosophy; it’s a beautifully engineered machine that doesn’t carry one ounce of excess weight. With 460hp on tap and race car handling at your disposal, this car is the ultimate giant killer”."
With a power-to-weight ratio of 517 horsepower per ton, the Lotus 3-Eleven can compete with any car in the world.
What is most impressive, is the environment in which Christian Gebhardt, was able to achieve the time. The time was achieved using road tires on a 46* Fahrenheit track.
Fast cars aren’t simply about power. It’s a great combination of elements that work together. The Lotus 3-Eleven, with strong power, a lightweight chassis, and applied advanced suspension knowledge, is a car that is capable of beating the most advanced hypercars to date, at 1/5th of the cost. This is exactly why Lotus is one of my favorite manufacturers, and why I hope down the line, they bring road-legal, lightweight cars back into the United States.