Friday, September 17, 2010

Spec Elise Build

After the Laguna Seca Lotus Challenge Series(LCS) race, one of our clients requested that we build him another Elise for wheel to wheel racing. He was currently running an uncaged Elise SC in LCS that he also drives on the street. He was having so much fun that building a car that was even safer seemed to be a prudent decision. Developing a car that would qualify for the Spec Class within LCS was his request to us in mid July. He also wanted to be able to run at the next LCS event in early Sept. Time was clearly too tight to start from scratch.

To expedite this build, we bought an Elise that was already track prepped but needed some tweaks to make it compliant with LCS rules. This car came from our friends at R3 Motorsports who used it as a school car and also for arrive and drive. It had a cage and fire suppression system already. We stripped the car down to assess it's condition. It had seen some serious track days but was in decent condition. The car had a salvage title so had some minor chassis damage that R3 corrected.

The parts that we changed included the suspension, steering arms, gPAN, brakes, RTVbrace, airbox, hubQR, Nardi F1 steering wheel and added a fifth point harness. Several of the ball joints were torn or worn out so we simply replaced them with some of our components like our Nitron S99 kit. We gave the car a full fluid flush, including our transELIXIR and alignment. We added a set of stellaCORSE wheels from the clients SC. Since the car is not street legal, we had to wait until a track event to test her out.

The car was originally Chrome Orange but the client and his business partner wanted a yellow car. They christened it 'Saffron'. The stripe scheme was our 'Blade' design that was
first developed on our Exige. I'm pleased to report that several client's have copied this design around the country. We chose red and white as these colors were in the client's race suit and helmet. After adding the stickers the car really looked sweet. The 'Toyo' & 'R888' were sprayed onto the tire sidewalls for that finishing touch.

Of course the proof is always in the pudding so we needed to run her to see if she was fast. Steve brought her to the Streets of Willow LCS event. Our client and his partner hired a pro to coach them. The coach is a Skip Barber instructor at Laguna Seca with experience in their Lotus school cars. He was very happy with the car. So much so that he did not want to give it back! He managed to run some fast laps in the 1:32sec range with a safe margin. Saffron ran without a hitch in 105degF track conditions. Ultimately the track race was cancelled as the corner workers were getting sick from the heat.
Our client and his partner were pleased with the car and raved about its performance. We managed to deliver a track ready Elise to them in 1.5months. So give us a call if you are interested in a track focused Lotus, we can build one to suit your specific needs.

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