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Lotus's Cool Confusion

Lotus's Cool Confusion centers around a vehicle so rare only twenty five cars will be made. The Lotus Exos Type 125 race car. This car is going for a cool million and that includes a training course taught by former F-1 drivers.


Lotus Cars, the renowned British manufacturer of sports and racing cars, is not related to the Lotus F1 team. Wait – what?

The F1 team is, despite christening similarity, not owned by Lotus Cars. It is owned by a Malaysian consortium, which, confusingly, has Proton, the owner of the British Lotus, as a member. Bamboozled? So is Lotus Cars. Their new track toy, the Lotus Exos Type 125 race car, screams F1 from top to bottom. Uh – Lotus? You’re not F1. But after viewing this slim, gorgeous blue and black rocket, it seems Lotus’s infringement should be forgiven.

A few select industry insiders and automotive enthusiasts snapped a sneak peek at the 125 at the Monterey Motorsports Pre-Reunion. Lotus presented the 125 at the Pebble Beach Concours d’Elegance for its worldwide debut.

Lotus didn’t mince words during presentation. It claimed, “The Lotus 125 is being engineered and developed to provide its select few owners the absolute ultimate in a trackdriving and racing experience.” Few owners? That’s right; several filthy rich aficionados – with the right connections, of course – will have the once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to purchase the 125 and join the Exos Racing program, a 5-race training course taught by former F1 drivers. The training begins in 2011. To get in, shell out $1 million. How many tickets? As many as there are cars: twenty-five.

The 125 sneers at posh accoutrements like stereos and heated cupholders. Its 3.5-ltier Cosworth GPV8 sports a mind-blowing 10,300 rpm redline and packs 650-hp. The engine is set at the back of the 1,433-lb car, which is built from a carbon fiber monocoque chassis with ceramic brakes, a carbon fiber pushrod suspension, downforce inducing wings, paddle shifters and an interior multi-function control screen. The cabin is a close rendition of an actual F1 cabin, which looks incredibly cool but may prove uncomfortable for those used to heated and cooled synthetic leather seats.

This all begs the question, why? Why spend so much time, money and publicity on a limited edition vehicle with a mere twenty-five owners? Rumors abound that Lotus is merely trying to circumvent the F1 in-season testing ban, but most likely, Lotus is simply marketing. After all, what could be cooler than taught the tricks of the track by former F1 drivers? And if the driver's seat is slightly uncomfortable, the one million spent for it ought to make it feel spectacular.





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