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by Jay Traugott
Fast, lightweight and likely dangerous. Colin Chapman couldn't have done it better.
Despite its financial troubles as of late, Lotus is still with us and still doing what it does best: building some of the world's best lightweight performance machines. Just as you are reading this, the British automaker will be unveiling an even lighter track version of the Exige S at the Lotus Festival at Brands Hatch. The Exige V6 Cup is basically the bad ass version of the Exige S, and yes it will be coming to the US. As the track-ready version, Lotus shaved more than 200 pounds of weight, making it faster from 0 to 62 mph by 0.2 seconds.
Interestingly, both the Exige V6 Cup and S have the same top speed of 174mph. They also share the same engine - a supercharged 345 horsepower 3.5-liter V6. Lotus will also be offering two versions: the so-called Track Day and a full-on competition spec, and neither is for the amateur weekend racer. Both will come standard with some essential racing bits such as an adjustable suspension, a rear diffuser and wing, various aerodynamic parts, a full roll cage, a removable steering wheel, HANS-compliant race seats with 4- or 6-point racing harness, and even a FIA-compliant fire extinguisher.
Also coming standard is the Lotus Dynamic Performance Management system that allows the driver the option of switching between Race, Sport, and Touring modes. The car's total weight: just 2,381lbs. It all sounds perfect, but here are the not so fantastic parts: production will initially be limited to just 20 units and the price of entry for the so-called "base" Track Day version is $100,000. Opting for the competition-spec will set you back $118,000. Oh yeah, there's also a 20 percent VAT on top of that. The V6 Cup is built for Lotus Cup series racing that takes place in Europe, North America and Japan.