Lotus has unveiled what it calls its fastest production road car ever, the 3-Eleven. Fittingly, the reveal was staged at the 2015 Goodwood Festival of Speed, which started yesterday and runs to June 28.

The 3-Eleven is an open-cockpit car that will be offered in Road and Race versions, with the only things setting the track-ready Race model apart are more aggressive aero bits, a sequential gearbox, and an FIA-approved race seat with six-point harness.

Everything else is shared: a supercharged V6 is good for 450 hp, and promises what Lotus calls an “enviable” power-to-weight ratio, thanks to the Race’s trim 900-kg curb weight. Lotus says that combo is good for a zero-to-96 km/h (60 mph) time of less than three seconds, and top speeds of 290 km/h in Road form, and 280 for the Race.

A bespoke aluminum chassis underpins the 3-Eleven, and a double-wishbone suspension with adjustable dampers and front roll bar does its part to keep the wheels planted.

The engine is a revised version of that used in the Evora 400 shown earlier this year at the Geneva auto show. Its horsepower peaks at 7,000 rpm, and 332 lb-ft of torque is on-line between 3500 and 6500 rpm. Road cars comes with a close-ratio six-speed manual transmission with a Torsen-type limited-slip diff, while Race versions trade that for the semi dry-sump sequential box with oil cooler and paddle shifters.

Putting power to pavement are tires sized 225/40ZR18 in front and 275/35ZR19 out back; Road cars use Michelin Pilot Super Sports, and Race comes with Michelin Cup 2s. Four-piston brake calipers grab grooved rotors front and rear on both versions; the Race variant gets upgraded pads.

Nearly everything about the 3-Eleven’s body is “aerodynamically significant,” including the scalloped front wheel-arch vents, rear spoiler, roll bar cover, and rear diffuser and undertray. In Race form, the body generates 215 kg of downforce at 240 km/h.

Inside, the driver gets a TFT info display and quick-release steering wheel, and Race versions can be had with a data logger.

Perhaps the most significant number of all, however, is the car’s name, which is also how many of these cars Lotus will build–311. Production begins in February 2016, and the first buyers are set to take delivery in April 2016.


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