01.04.2012
By Terry Flanagan

2012 Lotus Exige Set to Fire Up Indy Circuit

The British automaker’s hardtop, lightweight speed machine furthered its preparations to enter the Indy race car circuit this year, testing its Exige R-GT rally car on December 22 in the Italian province of Varano Melegari (and northward, in Turin, on December 23). Meanwhile, the rally car’s sister, the street version Exige S, is to be sold in the United States solely as a track car after Lotus edited its North American lineup to meet regulations.

The Exige rally car’s specs are rather something to behold (and perhaps to fear, if you’re racing in the Indy circuit this year). A supercharged, 3.5 liter V6 gets from naught to 60 in 3.8 seconds, and 444 horses take the driver to a top speed of 170 miles per hour. With its ultra light weight and smaller size (thanks to carbon-fiber panelling), this car is configured to handle with ease, agility, and speed.

Preparations for the 2012 race car circuit continue, and the Exige R-GT is scheduled to continue testing this month in the United States before joining the FIA World Rally Championship in international venues (Monte Carlo, San Remo, Tour de Corse).

In a recent press release, Group Lotus Director of Motorsport Claudio Berro was pleased with the Exige R-GT’s test run:  “The fire up in the car went really well, [and] there were no nasty surprises…It was only October last year that we announced that we would become an IndyCar engine supplier and just 12 months on, we had an all new Lotus engine and three teams signed up – Bryan Herta Autosport, Dreyer and Reinbold Racing, and HVM Racing. We’ve still got a lot of work to do ahead of the start of the 2012 IZOD IndyCar season but so far I’m very encouraged by what I see.”

Internationally, the Exige-S is now on sale as a street-legal speedster in two options: Premium, and Premium Sport. Drive modes also abound–Touring, Sport, and DPM off…and, of course, Race (included in the Race Pak option, which also gives the Exige a re-configured suspension and a feature called Launch Control).

In the U.S., we can look forward to this year’s arrival not only of the track-only Exige S, but also of the Evora, the Exige’s sleek, sexy (and street-legal) big brother, sure to console stateside Lotus fans. Markets Media Lifestyle plans on reviewing that model, with a price tag of $66-$76,000, sometime this spring.

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