In the latest instalment of what has to be the longest running joke on Car Throttle, Lotus has released another new car that isn’t actually very new at all.
The 3-Eleven 430, dubbed the ‘final evolution’ of the car that first wowed track-day enthusiasts back in 2015, has a little more power, a few bags of sugar less weight and a production run of just 20 cars for the whole world.
Power for the road-legal new 3-Eleven is up by 20bhp, to 424bhp. It’s now two seconds per lap faster than the old Road-spec car around Lotus’ Hethel test track, with a 1m 24s lap. It’s still four seconds slower than the old 454bhp Race-spec 3-Eleven, but it’s good enough to make it the fastest road-legal Lotus that has ever been slung around the Norfolk circuit.
The 62mph mark shoots by in just 3.2 seconds; two tenths faster than before. With no windscreen to protect you, you’d better be wearing a helmet. A token 5kg weight cut to 920kg comes from full carbon bodywork that’s only part-painted, with gorgeous exposed weave visible on the flanks.
Its power-to-weight is a very healthy 461bhp per tonne. That’s 23bhp per tonne more than it used to be, and lap times are aided by a 50mm higher-mounted straight-cut rear wing with ‘reprofiled’ end plates, a long front splitter and other aero enhancements that add up to an extra 44kg of downforce at top speed. The total is now 265kg at 179mph.
Fat Michelin Pilot Cup 2 road-legal track-biased tyres measure 225mm and 275mm wide at the front and back respectively. Lotus says sustainable lateral g-force can reach 1.5g. The stoppers are delicious AP Racing items; four-piston calipers all round with new J-Hook discs for better bite and debris clearance.
Prices for the 3-Eleven 430 are eye-watering. In the UK, it’s £102,000 including all taxes and on-the-road charges. A 911 GT3 is only £10,000 more, but if you want the very finest in track-day weaponry, the hyper-exclusive Lotus is hard to beat.
Other lovely, but not actually new Lotus machinery we’ve brought to you over the last 12 months have included the one-off, James Bond-inspired Evora 410, the Elise Sprint 220, the Evora Sport 410 GP Edition, the Exige Cup 380, the Elise Cup 250, the Evora GT430, the Elise Cup 260, the Exige Cup 430 and the Evora GT410 Sport of just a month ago. No further comment required.