Thanks to Central Lotus we had the pleasure of joining racing driver Jay Shephard in the passenger seat as he took the Lotus Exige S around Donington’s National circuit during The Fast Car Festival last weekend.
With Lotus being the honoured marque for this year’s show, we had to experience what a Lotus is all about and what better way than to take to the track?
As for the Exige, any preconceptions of it as a road car is torn up as soon as you step in it on a track. Its personality is akin to the various supercars and race cars which took to Donington’s circuit during the Festival, all wrapped up in a refined(ish) package to get you to and from the track. With a supercharged V6 engine in the back and a kerb weight of just 1176kg, it’s propelled from a standing start to 60mph in just 3.8seconds, even with a good ol’ manual ‘box, it’s geared for a top speed of 170mph. As with Lotus though this only paints half the picture, handling is where it really comes to life.
As we approach Redgate Jay steps on the brakes late, and with the car barely squirming at the rear, he sends the Exige into the right hander with a tender right foot. As the nose darts into the apex I remain planted in my seat thanks to the Exige’s brilliant chassis which really comes into play here, shaking off any hint of body roll.
The sports suspension works with the chassis to keep the car flat through the corners and the only bracing I needed was during the high speed left handers down through the Craner Curves and Schwantz corner when I got a little too close for Jay’s comfort. As he pushed on, the front tyres started to fight for grip, leaning on the edge of understeer, no car can beat the laws of physics! You are getting one of the world’s truly great handling cars, a title Lotus has and always will fight for.
So we know it corners excellently, now the straight part… Because of its high levels of grip, Jay was able to step on the power early. Thanks to its supercharger, the torque enables him to leave it in third rather than second coming out of the Esses, which resulted in instant grip at the rear and a punch of power down Wheatcroft straight to complete the lap, touching 140mph as we approach Redgate again.
The Exige isn’t a supercar, let’s get that part out of the way, but it was never intended to be one. It’s a sports car which allows the likes of you and me to drive it to the track, have a day of pelting around some of the UK’s awesome circuits and then drive home again. It’s mind-blowingly fast through the corners and even from the passenger seat you get a sense of just how much confidence it gives the driver. Would I have one? In a heartbeat. So on that note, Central Lotus, when can you chuck me the keys for a drive?
Big thanks to Central Lotus for allowing us the opportunity to sit in the passenger seat around Donington. Visit www.centrallotus.co.uk for more information on them and their Motorsport Engineering degrees.
We’ve been out with Central Lotus in the mind-blowing Supercharged Exige V6. Here it is blasting down Wheatcroft Straight. Check out their page! #Lotus #exige #V6 #lotusexige
Posted by Fast Car Magazine on Sunday, 31 July 2016