Lotus has announced yet another Hethel special to celebrate its 70th anniversary, in the shape of the new Lotus 3-Eleven 430. Only 20 examples of Lotus’s ‘quickest street-legal sports car’ will make production, with a price of £102,000.
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Like the standard 3-Eleven power comes from a 3.5-litre supercharged V6, although it exists in a higher state of tune, producing 430bhp and 325lb ft of torque, driving the rear wheels through a six-speed manual gearbox. The minor improvements do offer greater performance: 0-62mph comes down to 3.2 seconds, and the top speed is up, too, to 180mph.
However, true to Lotus tradition, the extra speed also comes courtesy of a (minor) diet. The 5kg drop in weight – to 920kg (dry) – combined with the power boost results in a power-to-weight ratio of 467bhp per tonne, 23bhp per tonne more than the stock 3-Eleven.
Lotus has also made downforce-based gains with a more aggressive aero set-up grafted onto the open-cockpit track car’s carbon-composite body. At top speed the Lotus 3-Eleven 430 now generates 265kg of downforce, 44kg more than the standard car. To achieve this, the rear wing has been placed 50mm higher and gets reshaped end plates, while the front splitter has been lengthened.
High-grade suspension hardware has been bolted to the bonded aluminum chassis, with adjustable, Ohlins dampers and Eibach anti-roll bars all round. Michelin Cup 2 tyres have also been fitted to make good on the aero and power-based gains and help the 3-Eleven 430 clock a record time on Lotus’s own test track, where it edged out the Lotus Exige 430 Cup.
Lotus’s 70th birthday celebrations have already seen the release of the Exige 70th Edition and Lotus Elise Cup 250 GP Edition, both, like the 3-Eleven 430, tributes to the company for reaching the milestone landmark.