Lotus no longer sells a street-legal version of its lithe Elise sports car in North America, but that doesn’t mean it can’t sell a new Elise built for a single purpose: racing. The automaker just announced the 2014 Elise S Cup R, based on the 2014 Elise S sold elsewhere around the world, will be sold on our shores.
Much like the road-going Elise S that isn’t sold here, the 2014 Elise S Cup R is powered by a modified version of Toyota’s 2ZR-FE 1.8-liter four-cylinder, which is mated with a Magnusson R900 supercharger. Despite receiving a unique engine computer, power – some 217 hp and 181 lb-ft of torque -- remains unchanged from the Elise S road car. A close-ratio six-speed manual transmission is standard equipment.
As part of its makeover by Lotus Motorsport, the 2014 Elise S Cup R is stripped of the few interior appointments the Elise previously had, although American-spec Cup R cars appear to include air conditioning – which is listed as an option for other markets – as standard equipment. An FIA-compliant roll cage is squeezed into the interior, as is a FIA-grade fire extinguisher, a quick-release steering wheel, and a HANS-compliant driver’s seat with six-point harness. Other features include 17-inch forged aluminum wheels wrapped in race-grade Yokohama A048 tires. An electronic battery isolator, tow eyes, upgraded brake pads, adjustable dampers, an upgraded triple-pass radiator, a polycarbonate rear window, and a new body kit whose splitter, barge boards, winglets, and rear wing help increase downforce. According to Lotus, these modifications are enough to render the 2014 Elise S Cup R four seconds quicker around a 3-mile circuit than a 2014 Elise S road car.
According to Lotus, the 2014 Elise S Cup R carries a sticker price of $66,650, which doesn’t factor in another $1500 for freight and handling. Since creature comforts are kept to a bare minimum on race cars, we’re not surprised to learn the 2014 Elise S Cup R’s option list is stunted, to say the least. An 18.5-gallon FIA-certified fuel cell runs $3850, while a passenger seat, complete with four-point harness, adds $2275. Metallic paints add $2400 to the price tag, while a racing paint scheme adds $3200. Want to help protect that fancy paint from rock chips and other debris? Translucent Starshield protective coating is available, and costs an extra $995.
Sadly, the number of race series that welcome the 2014 Lotus Elise S Cup R is also limited. Despite incorporating some FIA-spec hardware, the Elise S Cup R is only eligible to compete in the global Lotus Cup series, including the Lotus Cup USA and the Elise Trophy. Privateers looking for a Lotus that can compete outside of a one-make series need instead look at an Evora GT4, Evora Enduro, Evora GX, or Evora GTC.