So time for me to finish this first chapter, after 3 years of ownership (the car will not move until march) :
First of all I would like to thank you for this forum, I tried to participate and share with you my experience.
To complete my previous feedback :
Driving on track :
I started to drive on track when I got the Exige, no previous experience.
More I drive the car on track, less I want to drive (it) on open roads.
More I am quick on track, more I am slow on roads.
I decided to improve my driving skills instead of improving the car.
I am always a beginner of course but quite different than three years ago.
It's really satisfying to improve your performance, just by improving your driving skills.
Driving quick and properly is a job. You have to think about it !
My biggest mistake is to push too hard too quickly. Hey boy, breath, enjoy the moment.
Dedicating some sessions to work on specific corners seems to be a good approach.
Nobody is watching you (not even one grid girl unfortunately), take your time.
Each trackday I restart from the beginning : trail braking, balanced throttle, best racing line, working on my vision...
I try to follow the coach advice, speaking to myself. Finally you drive with (sometimes against) the car, with the laws of physics (nop you can't cheat here) and with your brain.
Taking experience will make you more confident, but stay modest.
Using the same car for track and road is good and not so good.
At the end of the (track)day, I need my car to go Home.
It's not the best configuration to take more risk and try to reach your limit.
I have to think about that.
Latest lap on track :
Driving on road :
Roads = Mountain roads
The car is really good, the size of the car is a huge advantage on mountain roads comparing to anything else. As I said in others posts, getting something more powerful and agile on roads will send you to jail or 6 feet under. The power, the gearbox, the brakes, everything is perfect.
Remove the hard top and enjoy (this change is a must have for me).
BUT I always think that the Evora 4xx IPS is better for a roadtrip.
The car itself :
345 BHP ? I doubt about that. It could be problem on F1 tracks with long straight line (slower cars/drivers in corners
can overtake you).
The car is reliable. The only problem I got is a broken fuel cap, changed by the dealer with a better one.
In fact, the Exige is the most reliable car I ever had.
On track :
- strong points are : lightness, handling, reliability, running cost, noise under most of track limits
- weak points are : automatic gearbox too slow, suspension, lack of power for long straight line
On road :
- strong points : feeling, reliability, sound at high rev, power, car size, automatic gearbox, soft top
- weak points : ground clearance, fuel tank capacity, sound at low rev
Advice for new owner or beginner on track :
- Check your tyres before, during and after a trackday or roadtrip or you will get big problems.
Use/install a TPMS system for road usage :
- CUP 2 are too soft for road usage. I prefer the PS4 for road.
- For track usage, protect your car with a PPF, at least the front and the whole side :
- A big topic is the geometry and the tyre configuration (model, pressure, temperature),
lots of work to do on that. It's so important.
Next steps :
The biggest weak point of the car (after the driver) for track usage (only) is the IPS gearbox. The gearbox is slow - you can manage that, but sometimes the downshifting is really too slow, and the gear shifting is done in the middle on the corner... Unfortunately, automatic/paddle shifting gearbox is mandatory for me. I got quotes for Sequential gearbox but it's really expensive. I would like to stay in the Lotus world : reliability, running cost, this forum, the spirit around this brand, the Club Lotus France, the very special feeling in the car, the handling...
The fact that the improved IPS of the Evora is not available on the Exige makes me crazy.
The running cost of the Exige on track is low, agree with that. BUT using a car on track is expensive, no matter what you plan. The "new" Lotus pricing policy (price increase more quickly than my salary) and the fact that all new cars can not be driven on track due to the noise do not help. I would like to discover new tracks and specifically F1 tracks across Europe.
Due to my budget limits, If I have to choose between trackdays and roadtrips without a doubt I choose trackdays. This is why I am thinking about having a car dedicated for track usage with a trailer.
For the moment I am hesitating...