Okay, I am being totally serious here: I think Lotus is messing with us. They have put outsomany “special” editions that I am starting to doubt them. Seriously, has anyone ever seen all the special editions in the same place at the same time? At this point, I wouldn’t be surprised if someone at Lotus said, “Nah, sorry mate! We was just havin’ a laugh!” and this all turns into some sort of prank.
Anyway, here is the new “special” edition: The Lotus Exige Cup 430 Type 25 Collector’s Piece.
No, that is the real, full name for this thing: Lotus Exige Cup 430 Type 25 – billed by Lotus as a “collector’s piece.” At first I thought it was a piece, like a piece of a racecar or something. But no, this is an entire car. A specially-prepped, painted and limited-run Lotus Exige Cup 430. And yes, like all Lotus cars, it is impressive. It’s quick, fast, turns like the devil, and does the business.
Lotus will be making only 25 of this version, although the name also applies to it being a tribute to the Lotus 25 Grand Prix car from 1963.
To distinguish this edition, every Lotus Exige Cup 430 Type 25 is finished in metallic Lotus Racing Green, or Old English White, with contrast pinstripes on the front splitter, front access panel, bargeboards (which are new), roof panel, and rear wing, as well as unique decals on each rear buttress. In case you don’t know, Lotus Racing Green is not as dark as British Racing Green, and Old English White was the primary color on the Lotus Cortina (potentially the original sport sedan). This is all the work of the Lotus Exclusive program that combines traditional British craftsmanship with the best of modern design.
Power & Performance
The Lotus Exige Cup 430 Type 25 employs a supercharger and chargecooler, designed specifically for the unique demands of the engine, which pumps out a very impressive 430 horsepower and 325 lb-ft. of torque. Given the size and weight of an Exige, that is a beautifully grotesque amount of horsepower. 60 mph comes up in merely 3.2 seconds before topping out at 180 mph. Lotus says it’s one of the fastest road cars to lap their Hethel circuit, covering the 2.2 miles in just 1 minute 24.8 seconds.
A six-speed manual transmission is standard on the Exige Cup 430 Type 25. There is also a variable traction control function, linked directly to the ECU and controlled by a six-position rotary switch on the steering column. There are five pre-set traction levels as well as “off”. . . and this is pointing out the obvious to us gearheads, but we all know how much capital-F, Fun that “off” position is going to be!
Yes, the Lotus Exige Cup 430 Type 25 is road legal, but it is sort of a British version of a Porsche GT3: This thing shines brightest on the track. Motorsport aero can be found all over the place. The carbon fiber front splitter’s trailing lip helps separate and speed airflow under the car. The new air curtain elements on the front clamshell move air through to the front wheel wells to reduce turbulence and drag. The front louvers reduce the pressure within the front wheel arches and cut lift.
Out back you’ll notice the large cut-out sections behind the rear wheels to reduce wheel arch pressure and boost downforce. Put all that together with the high-set rear wing and rear diffuser, and you’re looking at over 450 lbs. of downforce.
Suspension & Braking
The suspension is as close to perfect as Lotus can make it. That means, as far as you’re concerned, it is perfect. Nitron three-way adjustable shocks and adjustable Eibach front and rear anti-roll bars are standard. Michelin Pilot Sport Cup 2 tires are fitted to ultra-lightweight, fully machined, forged aluminum wheels. Stopping is done via forged, four-piston AP Racing brake calipers and race-derived two-piece, J-hook brake discs.
On the inside it’s all down to business. The Type 25’s interior includes in-house manufactured carbon race seats, themed in black Alcantara, with bespoke trim and a custom stripe for the head and backrest. The door panels and face-level vents feature new contrast double stitching, and the cabin is finished all around in anodized aluminum and carbon fiber bits and pieces. In a nod to the original Lotus Type 25 Formula 1 car, there is a wooden gear selector knob. Sweet!
Curiously, the Lotus Exige Cup 430 Type 25 is not all Harry Hairshirt track-focused austerity. There is air conditioning, an entertainment system, including iPod and Bluetooth connectivity, and cruise control. There is even carpet and floor mats. However, Lotus says if you want to be all Harry Hairshirt track-focused austerity, you can delete some of those items.
Sigh. I guess this “Special Edition” Lotus will have to go in my Lotto Garage as well.
Tony Borroz has spent his entire life racing antique and sports cars. He is the author of Bricks & Bones: The Endearing Legacy and Nitty-Gritty Phenomenon of The Indy 500, available in paperback or Kindle format. Follow his work on Twitter: @TonyBorroz.