Lotus never had any trouble selling the Elise. That’s what happens when you create your own little niche and make the cost of entry affordable enough for most second car buyers to take note. Of course, we were all disappointed that the Elise got the chop last year and while we’re at least left with the magnificent Emira, it occupies a hotly contested corner of the market and last year's sales would suggest the company isn’t having an easy time of it.
Sound familiar? The last time Hethel released a slightly more GT-focused, mid-engine V6 sports car, it mustered just a fraction of the sales of the Elise and Exige. Mostly because it was positioned a little too close to the Porsche Cayman for comfort, as opposed to any shortcomings with the car. Quite the opposite, actually. From the very first iteration all the way through to the run-out Evora GT430 (or whatever special edition takes your fancy, there were many of them). With more power, refinement and even space over the Elise and Exige, the Evora was the perfect alternative to the firm’s spartan sports cars.
Not that we expect anything less from Lotus, which went to great lengths to ensure the Evora was more than just an Elise with a bit more leather (cough, Europa, cough). Formed around a bonded aluminium chassis with double wishbone, forged suspension, the Evora felt every bit as good in the corners as its stablemates, while adding an appropriate degree of comfort. As ever, the Evora’s handling was widely praised by journalists back in 2009, with a certain Mr Tiff Needell giving it the nod over the 987 Cayman during a track shootout around Angelsey – which the Lotus won.
Remember, this was the first new Lotus sports car to feature a V6 since the Esprit. Yes, the 3.5-litre Toyota V6 was originally sourced from a Camry, but the 2GR-FE is an incredibly versatile engine that powers all sorts of cars – from an Alphard people carrier to the new Emira. Besides, 280hp is nothing to scoff at, particularly when it’s capable of propelling you to 62mph in 5.5 seconds, and Toyota isn’t exactly known for shoddy reliability, is it? The model really came into its own when a supercharger was bolted on for the Evora S, upping power to 350hp and slashing nearly a second off the 0-62 time.
This car, however, is an Evora S Sports Racer. It gains all the upgrades of the Evora S (more power, upgraded suspension and retuned steering), plus a generous list of extras that were bundled in as standard. These include a ‘Sports’ mode that keeps the valve open in the upgraded sports exhaust and sharpened up the throttle response, along with a reversing camera and sat nav that formed part of the otherwise optional Tech Pack. Gloss black wheels, splitter, skirts and diffuser also came standard, though it’s a touch difficult to tell on this Starlight Black car – of which only two were ever produced. The ultimate Evora all-rounder? Quite possibly, and a rare one at that.
One of the many great things about Lotus ownership is that there’s a dedicated and knowledgeable community out there (especially here on PH) that is always on hand to support. For instance, one of the previous three owners has gone through to the trouble of getting a certificate of provenance, detailing the car’s history from production to the day of sale. It has also undergone annual services, even though its most recent owner has used it sparingly. So it’s in top condition and ready to log some miles. A great excuse to put a bid in, don’t you think?
SPECIFICATION | LOTUS EVORA S SPORTS RACER
Engine: 3,456cc V6, supercharged
Transmission: six-speed manual, rear-wheel drive
Power (hp): 350@7,000rpm
Torque (lb ft): 295@4,500rpm
Year registered: 2013
Recorded mileage: 19,800
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