The last time we saw Lotus’ new Exige R-GT, the rally-spec racer was sitting pretty on the automaker’s display stand at the 2011 Frankfurt Motor Show. Now, the automaker has released an array of photos showing the purpose-built Evora doing what it was meant to do: turn a wheel in anger.
Although the rally-spec Exige has yet to actually compete in a sanctioned motorsport event, an early prototype did have its first official shakedown in Turin, Italy, on December 23. From what we can tell, the prototype looks much like it did in Frankfurt, but now wears a bare carbon fiber light pod on the hood, and a pair of new auxiliary lamps placed in the lower corners of the front bumper.
As we reported in September, the Exige R-GT was built to compete in the FIA World Rally Championship’s new R-GT class. The car is quite similar to the new Exige S track car, and utilizes the same supercharged, Toyota-sourced 3.5-liter V-6. A new intake system, designed to adhere to FIA class rules, does cut power back from the Exige S’ 345 hp to roughly 302. R-GT models will make use of a six-speed sequential gearbox, a limited-slip differential, upgraded brakes, and stronger half-shafts.
“When you consider that we only began working on this car in July, I think what we’ve achieved in that time has been incredible,” said Claudio Berro, Lotus’ director of Motorsport operations. “For me, the Exige S makes the perfect GT rally car: it has an awesome 3.5-liter, supercharged engine, and we’ve managed to balance the weight perfectly to meet the minimum weight regulations. The shakedown has only made us even more excited to show off the car in true race form early next year. I think we’re doing the Lotus motorsport pedigree proud.”
Lotus will continue testing the Exige R-GT through early 2012. If all goes according to plan, the car should compete on paved stages of FIA rallies in Monte Carlo, Tour de Corse, and San Remo.