A Historical Celebration of Road Sports Cars That Took To The Tracks...
LOTUS ESPRIT SPORT 300 ( UK series 4 limited edition )
Raced at Le Mans 1993+94 , British GT 1993-94 , International events
ENGINE : LOTUS 4 Cylinder 2174 cc Turbo
POWER : 300 BHP ( Road ) , 400 BHP ( Le Mans trim )
WEIGHT : approx 1100 KGS ( 370 BHP per tonne )
TOP SPEED : 163 MPH ( timed at Le Mans 1993 )
Hugh Chamberlain debuted the Sport 300 at the 1993 Le Mans 24 hrs where the faster of the 2 cars qualified 35th just behind rival cars
from Porsche and Venturi. Both Lotus would retire.
After appearing at the last round of the 1993 British GT season the
Sport 300 would take Thorkild Thyrring to the 1994 title with 4 outright wins in 8 races . Andreas Fuchs backing him up with 3 second places. The 2 cars again raced and retired at Le Mans in `94 .
Chamberlain took his cars into the BPR GT Series and elsewhere where
such as Daytona (37th ), Paul Ricard ( 8th ) , Montlhery , Spa ( 10th ) , Suzuka and Zhuhai.
The Lotus GT team ran a yellow car at the British rounds of the BPR for Alex Zanardi ( Lotus F1 in `93/`94 ) and Alex Portman in 1995. In the
lesser GT3 class with the Porsche 911GT2s Zanardi`s charge past the
opposition round Donington thrilled the crowd before transmission
failure sidelined the run. At Silverstone the pair placed 9th behind the
McLaren F1s and won its class. It retired at Zhuhai in its last race.
LOTUS ESPRIT V8
Raced in BPR World series as GT1 1996 ( highest finish 2nd )
British GT series GT2 ( class 2 ) 1997-99. 6 class wins.
British GT series GT ( class 1 ) 2000-
ENGINE : LOTUS V8
The series 5 Esprit gained a V8 engine option in 1996 with road cars
using a detuned 350 bhp output.
Lotus Racing Team ran 2 cars in the BPR series in 1996 in the GT1
class taking on the might of McLaren and Ferrari. Jan Lammers and
Perry McCarthy`s 2nd overall at the Silverstone 4 hours the best
finish. Alex Portman , Mike Hezemans , Chris Goodwin + Andy Wallace
also drove but only 4 finishes out of 18 was a poor return.
1997 - the V8 enjoyed more relaibility in GT2 form in the British GT
Series in 1997-98 against TVR , Porsche , Marcos and later Viper.
The Mellor Elliott entered car won its class 3 times in `97 each
with a podium finish , 2 more class wins in `98 for the G-Tech team
and another class finish against the Viper in `99 sharing the same
pool of Esprit drivers in this competitive class.
For 2000 that class became the top class with the old GT1 Supercars
now gone. The Mike Haines entry for Ellis and Astley couldnt quite
find a win but made 6 podiums in 12 rounds. Balfe Motorsport also ran
a car but couldnt finish higher than 15th. Less competitive in 2001
with rival cars from Zest and Johnsons , the latter making 8th 3
times in the cars last season.
LOTUS ESPRIT S1 COSWORTH ( Group 5 )
Raced 1979/80 World Championship of Makes ( 5 races )
ENGINE : LOTUS 4 Cylinder 2000 cc
POWER : 260 BHP ( 1979 ) tuned by Vegantune
WEIGHT : `on the G5 minimum` so assume 850 KGS
( data from Autosport Magazine )
The Lotus Esprit was launched in 1976 with a ultra modern wedge shape
designed by Giorgetto Guigiaro. Some 10 ,500+ would be built up to
2004 after a body redesign in 1987 on the series 4 by Pete Stevens.
Few early Esprits went racing in an era of Porsche 911 dominance but
in 1979 Richard Jenvey`s Morfe Racing `Polaroof` sponsored car used
a 2-litre Cosworth DFX engine in the `World Championship of Makes`.
.It qualified well at Dijon , Silverstone and Brands Hatch but unreliability cost it a finish. Jenvey and Hickman had 2 further DNFs
in 1980. Under financed and under developed the early racing Esprit
like the similar Janspeed TR8 project was a British heroic failure.
LOTUS ESPRIT X 180R ( US market Series 4 )
Raced in IMSA Supercar Series 1991-95 ( 7 wins , 33 poduims )
Sebring 12 hours ( 1994 )
ENGINE : LOTUS 4 Cylinder 2174cc Turbo
POWER : 300 BHP ( Road )
The IMSA Supercar series , sponsored by and using Bridgstone road
tyres was a support series to the main IMSA series from 1991-95
and used more production based machinery. Lotus USA used it to
promote sales of the Esprit and it competed against Porsche 911 ,
Mazda RX-7 , Corvette and Nissan 300zx opposition.
1991 - initially debuted by Duncan Drye in May before a 4-car effort
for Doc Bundy ( winning at Road Atlanta ) , actor/driver Paul Newman,
Bobby Carradine and Mike Brockman. 5 podiums in all.
1992 - 4/5 cars with Bundy winning at Atlanta , Portland and Phoenix.
Very consistant finishes led to 11 podiums in all.
1993 - 4/5 cars again . Bundy won at miami , David Murry at Atlanta.
8 podiums in all.
1994 - 3/4 cars with Andy Pilgrim winning at Phoenix. 7 podiums. The
only car outside of the series the X 180R appeared was at that years
Sebring 12 hours when Bundy and Murry placed 25th.
1995 - 4 cars , no wins and just 1 podium in the series` final year.
BRITISH GT CLASS WINS ( Esprit V8 ) :
Allard Kalff and Koene take a class win at Silverstone 1998
2012 - The Richard Allwood Esprit 5.5 ran in the C + C Heads Sports / Saloons series , finishing 2nd here at Donington and keeps the G5 Esprit spirit alive.