Lotus’ new Grand Am race car is still based on its Evora sports coupe, but it has an aggressive bodykit, no traction control, and a much bigger price tag. Lotus calls it the Evora GX.
In the beginning, there was the Lotus Evora GT4, a GT4-class racecar that competed in FIA competition and spawned its own one-make race series. Then came the GTC, the American-spec car that raced in Grand-Am series in the GT class. But Rolex Sports Car Series bosses recently changed the rules to create a second GT-like class called GX, an experimental class that will eventually allow for different engines and other technologies that would otherwise be shunned in GT class. The class’ first entrant was Mazda, which pledged to supply Skyactiv-D diesel race engines for some challengers.
The second entrant is Lotus, which is taking a convoluted process in entering the. Lotus announced today that it will start producing a car called the Evora GX. While the GX is headed towards the new GX class in 2013, the car will help wind down the 2012 season by competing in a few GT class events.
The differences between the old GTC and the new GX are not monumental, but they’re still big. Lotus engineers stripped the GTC of its traction control and anti-lock brakes, and built a stronger roll cage in the new car to meet Grand-Am regulations. To keep the car planted without technological help, Lotus fitted the car with a more aggressive front bumper/splitter with two sets of yellow foglights, a huge rear wing (a Rolex series-standard piece), and flared the wheel arches to fit wider wheels.
Other than a few other tweaks–namely an improved fuel filling system–the car is mostly similar to the old GTC. It uses carbon fiber on the door panels, roof, and engine cover, and fits plexiglass on the windows. Its 4.0-liter V-6 engine makes 440 hp and 325 lb-ft of torque, which should make for an interesting ride. That begs the question: why move to an experimental class when you’re still running a conventional car with a conventional engine? Future prospects, that’s why: we’ve long heard that Lotus was working on unconventional propulsion methods, from hybrids to ethanol/isobutanol burners. A move to GX class would open up the door for any or all of these technological advances to hit the racetrack.
In the meantime, the conventional engine-powered package will cost you (and your racing team) roughly $335,000. Then again, the Evora GX is a racing car from one of the most iconic names in the business, so the price doesn’t seem all that steep.