The new Lotus 3-Eleven marked its first public outing with a successful two-week test session during the industry pool test weeks at the renowned proving ground of the NürburgringNordschleife circuit, in which over 2,000kms were covered as part of a comprehensive test and development programme.
Jean-Marc Gales, Chief Executive Officer for Group Lotus plc, commented, “The success of this test session is proof that our development philosophy for the 3-Eleven is the right way to go. We’ve always said that to make a car faster you must make it lighter and this new car carries that philosophy to a new level. It condenses all of our engineering know-how into an undiluted performance-focused package and we’re pleased to showcase to the world, the quickest and most powerful production Lotus to date. The 3-Eleven achieved one of the fastest ever lap times around the Nürburgring for any class of car and faster than many other supercars”
Heralding a new generation of Lotus high performance sports cars, the 3-Eleven features an all-new lightweight body, with an open cockpit design and a V6 supercharged engine developing 450 hp. The 3-Eleven re-affirms Lotus core values, offering the ultimate pure driving experience and providing the perfect demonstration of “faster and lighter” which comes from Lotus’ roots in competitive motorsport and underlines the company’s ability to deliver benchmark handling.
In what was its first turn of a wheel outside of Lotus’ Hethel HQ, the new 3-Eleven was piloted by three different drivers with individual areas of expertise and vehicle set-up with specific focus – aerodynamics, engine calibration, chassis tuning and suspension geometry.
Gavan Kershaw, Technical Manager for Lotus Motorsport and Lotus 3-Eleven Development Driver, commented, “It has been a hugely successful test for us in which we have thoroughly investigated areas of the car which are a specific focus for high performance driving. We have methodically worked through a test matrix concentrating on, aerodynamic balance, suspension settings, tyre and brake development, optimising engine calibration and throttle mapping to reach the required benchmark for performance.”
With clear running on the circuit an inhibiting factor over the course of the two week period – in which the track was not designated solely for the use of Lotus – the 3-Eleven lapped regularly on or below the target simulation time. By combining the quickest sector times achieved during the fastest 2 laps on the “Sport Auto” magazine lap configuration, a total lap time of 7 minutes 06 seconds was recorded by the vehicle’s data logging acquisition system.
Marc Basseng, Lotus 3-Eleven Driver, stated, “I know the Nürburgring Nordschleife very well and have driven many cars around the circuit. I can say that the 3-Eleven is the perfect car for a fast lap here. It is so sharp and so focussed; a true weapon! This was proven in the sector times set and I’m sure, with the track completely to itself, the car could push towards a 7min flat lap time.”
The new Lotus 3-Eleven will enter production in February 2016 with deliveries scheduled to commence in April 2016. Production will be limited to just 311 vehicles in total. The 3-Eleven will be sold in all markets as a race car and in Europe and Asia as a road car.