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Jokke Vlo

Exige V6 CupR

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Lotus Exige V6 Cup R

 

 

I got a mail from Lotus Motorsport, some months ago, whether I was interested to test the new cup they were working on. At  that time the V6 cup was just launched.

I was waiting……..and waiting……..and waiting………and waiting…….which is quite common at Lotus :D……. and thought....  they forget it.

 

BUT last week I got the same, nice, Lotus Motorsport guy. Whether I could come over on Monday as they will roll out the V6 CUP R for testing.

 

What do you do in that case? Of course let’s go Hethel  even I had to leave home at 3.00 o’clock in the morning (and returned at 1.30).

 

Let’s come to the point, how was it? Before going on this there are some circumstances to know.

1.            It was cold and wet so it is pity we couldn’t test on dry and compare a little better.

2.            The car is not yet finished so we have to know it is a rebuild cup V6, that means still some changes to do, especially on the exterior (but also on some mechanical things and set up).

 

Exterior:

The less important part of a race car, but why not look at it too. A good looking fast car is nicer as a bad looking one.

I was not so impressed as I wanted to be  (but as said it is a proto). The black roof doesn’t look as it has to be for me. As the rear hood was in carbon look,  I think it is better to have the roof in the same finish (Carbon?) or even just keep it in the cars color.

The rear wing was (for me) not really nice integrated. It was really fixed on the car. I hope you understand what I mean.

Last but not least the car had still normal side windows, these have to be plastic  on race car (I guess it will come like that?)

But it starts to look as a race car so that’s important too.  I think they know very well it just has to be a little bit more “homogene”.

 

The ride:

Before telling more about it, pls note the car has a sequential gearbox with paddles

I repeat it was wet so I can only tell on how it felt on the wet. While I do this I like to compare to how my GT3RS in race trim feels on the wet or a Cup260, cars I know a little.

Leaving the pit I remarked the range of the clutch is very very narrow for first gear. My start was a disaster in that way 

For a still start there is still some work to do (as well on the driver), I think.

 

 

Once in second gear leaving the pits it really started. It went very fast from 2nd, to 3th to 4th with a remarkable ease !

 

Time to take the first corner, yes the one with the late apex, as it was wet the racer before me told to change to 3th in the corner in order to have the right traction on the wet when going to full throttle (tried 2nd later, car was still very stable and I think a little faster even).

 

What was a little enoying is that the paddles (just behind the weel) were a little too short. You had to replace your hands in full corner to hit them. So this can be done better.

 

Up to the small double bent were I put up speed on every lap. It was just REMARKABLE how much grip this car has. Not once I was able to go so hard the car started to move a little (or my b***s were to small).

Impressive how stable the car was, just unbelievable, especially on the front tires. In most tests people are not happy with the understeer of the V6.

But not me, neither mr. Rasse (Lotus cup driver) felt any understeer here, perfect job ! Even we tried to push a little in the rain.

 

Next is the chicane on the straight. A real WTF was my deal here. Think I did around 8-9 laps and every time I tried to enter the chicane a little faster. What I can definitely say is that  entrance speed is higher as I can with my GT3 (which has nearly a race geo)  I even guess it will be close to 10km/u faster.

 

It is here that I felt how stable and good the car is under braking, even on the wet. The GT3 will start to be nervous on the rear and even a little twisty when you brake this hard on the wet. The Exige was as stable as it could be, it took the braking with a smile.

 

The word FANTASTIC is on his place her. Quiet impressive.

The exit speed was ok, but when going (ok it was wet) on the throttle it was  a little inverse. If found a GT3 has a little more grip in this conditions.

Let’s say that, on the chicane, I am pretty sure the Lotus is quiet a lot faster.

 

The next right corner on the rear end of the circuit was coming.  Getting in quiet late for a late apex, I remember my colleague saying to take 3th gear too, but I said to myself “not” I take 2nd, full throttle in the wet (even the Lotus guys told me not to do, sorry for that). A 2nd big WTF moment. The car, again was taking this very very smooth.

 

So we had some corners and straights were I tried to give an impression on how the car felt.

 

After this first round I took another +/-8 laps were I played on different things with the car and gently tried to find some limits. Well they were even on wet not easy to find. (also because I needed to give the car back in good shape).

The limit is always behind expectations (only the very wet exit of the chicane were it felt a little twisty), on braking, on throttle, suspension, ….

 

The car felt sooooo confident and so easy. Totally different from an Exige Cup260 which is a very nervous car on this conditions and which is becoming tricky on the edge.

 

Not with this one. I have to try it on the dry but in the wet it felt more stable than the benchmark cars I mentioned before.

 

The Lotus guys had to call me in as I forget the time I was driving already. I wanted to explore the car even more. It felt so easy I thought I drove like a pussy (perhaps I did) but I was happy as the timekeeper assured me that I seemed to be not a bigger pussy then my colleague….

 

What to say? It FELT fantastic, it is TOTALLY different from an Exige Cup (TOTALLY !), it felt like this car will not be too far away from some of the most renown race cars (something with 99x cup or so).

Suspension felt perfect, balance felt perfect, traction control (when used) was coming in a little too much, braking was perfect, the gearbox is fantastic……………………and most of all it all felt so EASY.

 

As always I tried to be as objective as possible.

 

The car felt more confident then I hoped on nearly all points, but to really know what it can I want to drive it on the same day and same dry track with a benchmark car.

 

It all felt as the potential is huge ! Even if the car didn’t look homogenous from the outside it is more than that when you drive it !

 

The motormanagement with a very linear compressor, the lack of understeer , a brilliant braking and suspension with the right gearbox on top (not the least because the gearbox is for me the weak point of the cup V6) makes this a the perfect Exige.

In my opinion the real trackday driver and race driver will be much more happy with the sequential gearbox. That gearbox is what this cars just needed to feel so homogenous,the last thing the car needed to be nearly perfect ;)

 

Surprisingly good ! So good I doubt buying it instead of that 99xcup I wanted. And yes it’s true.

Thanks  a lot to Lotus motorsport for this opportunity. See you soon back ;)

 

PS : I am not native English, I did not re-read the text so please sorry for my poor English.

 

 

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Glad to hear it, nice that the car is living up to expectations. :thumbsup:

 

Thanks for taking the time to post, your English is fine and welcome to TLF :welcome:

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