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Spirit of Chapman still drives Lotus

Bryan Edwards

Take a shoe box and turn it into an aerodynamic shape, forge it in lightweight materials and mount it on a chassis that is more space than frame; stick a large but lightweight engine in the middle and paint it dark green with a wide mustard stripe down the middle, from front to back. And now, the finishing touch: yes, it's a Lotus badge. Oh, and one last thing: that paper fluttering in the driver's hand: it's his entry form for the Lotus Evora Cup.

Lotus Motorsport has announced a one-make racing series for its new baby - the super-performance Lotus Evora Cup Racer (pictured, facing the wrong way in the Brands Hatch pit lane). But the car is specified for much wider class-entry than a one-make series.

The engine is a Toyota 3.4 litre v6 bored out to 4 litres and race prepared including a dry-sump to prevent oil surge in racing conditions. A six speed sequential paddle gearbox is mated to the 400ps engine. Single seat specialists Dellara have designed the Aero package - which includes a large rear wing that looks somewhat like the aftermarket things boy racers put on hackneyed hatchbacks. It's the only thing about the car that does not stir - well, pretty much everything a man could want stirred.

The car weighs less than 1200 kg - the already light production car weighs just over 1400.

The racing version is ready for entry into a range of series including GT4.

The Evora Cup is a unique approach to racing: Lotus will hold two festivals, one in England and one in Italy later in the year. But during the rest of the 2010 season, entrants to the cup will take part in any FIA sanctioned, and Lotus approved, race meeting anywhere in Europe. In each of those races, they will earn Evora Cup points with their top six finishes counting towards their Cup total.

The neat aspect of this is that the Evora Cup racers will appear all over Europe simultaneously with no dedicated series requiring them to travel to specified races on fixed dates. It also means that the Evora will be in direct competition with other marques, overcoming the criticism of single-make series that the result is always that that make will win. The car will be eligible to compete in a number of different national and international series, with options for endurance racing and sprint racing. But just in case, there are plans for a pan-European single make series in the more traditional format for 2011.

The Evora Cup racing car comes with adjustable motor sport dampers and six piston front brake callipers, with two piece aluminium belled brake discs. There is an electrical cut off, fire extinguisher, traction control and is designed to have all the relevant FIA compatible motor sport equipment to race.

The car costs GBP120,000 including applicable taxes in the UK.With a 2009 Ginetta G50 GT4 racer just on the market for GBP35,000 the Lotus is a lot of money.

But, if Lotus have got the car as right as it looks and the specification suggests, it might just be the car everyone wants as 2010 unfolds.