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Race-spec Exige bins headlights, airbags and manual gearbox. Becomes quite quick

The Lotus Exige Sport 380, you will remember, is the stripped, angrier, trackier version of the Exige, and when we drove it late last year, it left us struggling for superlatives. “About the best handling car on the planet”, we settled on. Well, if you’re rich and brave, and had been waiting to find out what one with even less weight and more downforce would be like, have we got a winter warmer for you.

Yes, this is the racing version of the Exige 380. Guess what, it’s called the Lotus Exige Race 380. No marketing money wasted on fancy badges, then. The nowse has been spent on getting rid of things racing cars don’t need. Those ‘things’ include headlights, airbags, glass windows and a proper instrument cluster. This is not your amateur track day fan’s Lotus.

Adjustable Ohlins dampers have been fitted, along with tweakable anti-roll bars and at their extremities, ultra-lightweight forged alloy wheels. Serious brakes are by AP Racing. Weirdly, you can save a further 10kg by speccing the titanium exhaust. The car itself is £99,500 before local taxes. Who’s not going to stump up for featherweight pipes when they’re spending a hundred grand on a racecar?

Weighing in at 995kg, the 375bhp supercharged V6-powered Exige Race is what you’d call notably quick. Aided by an Xtrac sequential paddleshift gearbox, 0-62mph is dealt with in 3.2 seconds, it gets all the way around the Hethel test track in a frightfully rapid 1min 23.5sec, and in the name of downforce, the bigger splitter and wing help generate 240kg of aerodynamic grip at 170mph.
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