LOTUS ELISE TURBO
Lotus Elise Turbo - Light. Heavyweight Racer
Developed from a standard production Elise rolling chassis, this lightweight high-tech - high-spec racing car was built in 1998 to contest the 1999 British Speed Hillclimb Championship.
The bodywork of the car is ultra light autoclaved composite carbon fibre, unpainted in the quest for ultimate weight loss. The chassis remains the ground breaking extruded aluminium epoxy bonded assembly by Hydro Raufoss UK Ltd. With unprecedented accuracy and excellent torsional rigidity this is a perfect base for a competition car.
Mid-mounted is the 1400cc aluminium 4 cylinder, 16 valve K series engine producing 300 BHP, the construction of the internal components by Turbo Technics being a closely guarded secret. Breathing through a Garrett VNT (Variable Nozzle Turbocharger) which allows the pitch of a perimeter ring of vanes to be altered, giving optimum performance over a wide speed range. The turbocharger is considerably modified by Turbo Technics and includes a computer controlled wastegate. The turbine spins at up to 140,000 rpm, with an exhaust gas temperature of 1000 "c, and the air is cooled by a four stage charge cooler.
Exhaust gases are expelled through a 3" diameter stainless steel fabricated system, no silencer is employed, sometimes creating spectacular one metre long flames from the tailpipe whilst emitting the required amount of decibels.
Transmission utilises the Elise PG1 gearbox casing with revised 5-speed close ratio straight cut gears and a limited slip differential.
Power to weight ratio is of prime importance, true to the Colin Chapman legacy. It is essential that the driver Mark Waldron maintains a constant 76kg, the Corbeau carbon fibre Kevlar reinforced seat and 6 point Willans safety harness with aluminium adjusters are located as close as possible to the centreline of the car, however, suspension settings are precisely measured at each of the four contact patches of the dual compound Bridgestone tyres and any imbalance will upset the handling of the car.
The Lotus Sport Original Performance Products front and-roll bar and uniball rear toe link assembly developed for competition have been installed to cope with the increased loads applied during racing.
Shock absorption is controlled through 3 way adjustable WP dampers with variable spring platform height and remote reservoirs. Many thousands of combinations are available but Mark stated that "because of the high and low speed bump adjustment we have arrived at the ideal settings, now if I run over a penny I can tell if it is heads or tails."
The braking system is largely as the production car, using the aluminium metal matrix ventilated discs. The pedal box has been slightly modified and incorporates a larger accelerator pedal and an adjustable brake proportioning valve has been introduced to control front to rear brake balance. James Lister & Sons produce the flexible racing hoses and fittings to cope with the pressures under racing conditions.
Servicing the Elise at Turbo Techincs
Pectel engine management systems control instrumentation and engine parameters which can be quickly adjusted through a laptop computer, down loading all data logging information for analysis. Over 200 dedicated components were designed, sourced and fabricated by Turbo Technics for the engine installation alone, leading edge technology and materials were utilised at all times, even the ignition leads by Magnecor are 8.5 mm silicone with stainless core and of the induction type.
Complimenting the original equipment integral roll hoop is the FIA approved roll over bar with diagonal brace, and continuing in the theme of safety, a solid state Armtech electronic cut off system is employed to isolate all the electronics in the event of an accident.
Race preparation is undertaken by Streber Motorsport in Devon. CADS of Dorset who provide software design solutions to the construction industry support the project, and adding the final touch to the team effort are Signspot who apply the vinyl graphics.
The Elise is already a featherweight, however further enhancing the Lotus tradition in this anorexic 500 kg racer is the combination of Lightweight carbon fibre bodywork and components, bonded aluminium chassis and high performance turbocharged engine which provides exceptional performance equating to 600 BHP/tonne.
Should anybody be brave enough to order a replica the cost is a cool £150,000, or £40,000 for Turbo Technics to fit the turbo engine/ gearbox into your Elise.