Lotus Plotting Return to Racing, In-House Powertrain Development

In December of 2009, Lotus began what would be a radically different plan for the future. Proton, parent company of Lotus, hired Dany Bahar as Chief Executive Officer. Bahar, who formerly worked at Ferrari, was hired to chart a new path. Those plans were revealed at the Paris Auto Show last year when the company showed off numerous new models.

The Esprit super car is on its way, and Lotus plans to produce other models like the like the Elite and Eterne by 2018. What happened to a focus on lightweight design above all else? Well, the company thinks that isn’t a winning business plan. Instead, each car will aim to be the lightest in their respective segments. Bahar calls his vision for Lotus a “British Porsche.”

As part of that effort, the company is developing its next-generation of engines in house. Before, Lotus used Toyota as an engine supplier. That arrangement has caused some issues in the past, as Toyota recently discontinued the four-cylinder engine that powered the Elise and Exige.

Lotus wants to be able to control its own engine supply going forward. It is an expensive proposition – sourcing engines from other manufactures costs a lot less. For potential buyers, it also ensures things reliability and easier access to parts. Many speculated the Esprit would be powered by a version of the engine powering LFA. Alas, it was not to be. Autocar reports today that the Exige will be getting V-6 power standard next time around. V-6 power will help further differentiate the Exige from the Elise. Currently, the Exige is available with a 3.5-liter V-6 in S track guise. There has been some news that the Exige S is coming to the United States as a track-only model.

Lotus has also confirmed the signing of a new five-year contract with Bahar, so he can oversee the launch of all these new models that he is planning. You might remember, Bob Lutz is also an adviser to Lotus Cars. Other plans from Lotus include a hybrid Esprit super car, as well as much increased involvement in racing programs like Formula One. The company is also plotting a comeback to LeMans and IndyCar. These are big plans that we hope Lotus will be able to deliver on. It seems like it would have been smarter to take it slow, but if they can pull it all off then more power to them.

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