Like all the best Lotus stories, that of the Exige GT3 is far from simple. Back at the end of 2005, a stunning Lotus Sport-built prototype was shown at Casino Square of all places, previewing Lotus's intention to take on European GT3 the following year. A test took place at Paul Ricard, press releases were issued, and excitement was high: the new-for-2006 GT3 series was going to match cars on power to weight, meaning that the little Lotus should have had a fair crack of the whip against Vipers, Corvettes, 911s and Ferraris.
Alas, it didn't happen. Or certainly there's no record of it having happened. However, that's not to say the Exige GT3 didn't enjoy motorsport success - only it did so rather closer to home. A newly formed Lotus Sport Cadena team entered a pair of GT3s into the British GT Championship for '06 and '07; podium finishes for both cars in their inaugural season meant the best placed Exige finished second in the 2006 championship. A bigger field for 2007 made success harder to come by, but there was no shame in that - the Exige had proven itself has a GT3 race car, with light weight (just 750kg) proving as effective against the big guns as it always had in Chapman's day.
This particular GT3 is one of the 2007 cars, the second of just three made for that season. The changes from '06 were extensive, including revised aero, the introduction of a charge cooler, a wider rear track, strengthened rear subframe, a new brake master cylinder and even more power. What was 285hp from the supercharged 2ZZ-GE Toyota engine grew to 320hp, a chunky amount of power in something so light.
And now your average Joe Trackday can experience the thrill of a 21st century Lotus race car. For sale at Lotus Silverstone - where else - the GT3 is said to have covered 8,000 miles since being built at the end of 2006. It looks every inch the bonafide sportscar racer, too, with clamshell construction, slick tyres, plastic windows and enormous aero bits. Blacker than the liquorice of Lucifer himself, it's one very serious Lotus.
Very expensive, too, at £95,000. But then racing cars tend to be, especially those very rare, extremely fast ones. For a little slice of Lotus motorsport history and with the mighty performance on offer, it would be easy to imagine a committed fan stumping up the cash. Those in need of a new track day toy for 2021 - one quicker than anything else in the paddock - need look no further.
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