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Float Like A Butterfly, Sting Like A Bee

It’s rare that we find a Lotus in the pages of Hypertune but in keeping with this issues slight Merdeka Millennium Endurance Race (MMER) theme, we’ve decided to feature yet another one of these wonderful, race grade cars.

Lotus hasn’t had the closest relationship with racing, much less so than other sports car manufacturers. While there are the occasional one make race series (such as the race with centre-seated Elises), you cannot compare the company to the likes of Nissan or Toyota where they are prominently featured in many races.

Lotus cars as a whole tend to be pretty race ready in stock form though. With such a stiff chassis and heavy kit (like the AP racing brakes on the Exige S), you could probably compete in some basic sprint style races or have a go at time attack. But endurance racing is another beast altogether: while most will say it’s not about outright speed when running long races, cars still need to be competitively fast. Every second lost on a lap can lead to a massive loss in position over time- but again, ensuring that the car manages to make it to the end of the race is another problem that teams need to overcome. Drivers get to rest between stints, cars don’t.

This particular example of the Evora started life as a GT4 spec car. Lotus makes these cars for customers to use for competition- the car abides to both European and British GT4 rules, and with our MME rules being so wide and open to interpretation, the car would surely work as well.

For most customers, Lotus will offer the Evora or Evora S which both use the same 3.5 litre Toyota engine block, though the Evora S tosses a supercharger into the mix for a pleasant 350 PS. But in the interest of reliability and possibly to adhere to the competition rules, Lotus was forced to develop the GT4 without the supercharger, and with their extensive modification they managed to push the power output to a reliable 360 PS, while keeping the engine naturally aspirated.

In order to achieve that power potential, they consulted their long-time partners in crime, Cosworth, and asked them to produce a few pieces of equipment to extract more power from the V6 block. An intake plenum helps to optimize the flow of air both, both from the intake and the backpressure from the cylinders during combustion for a higher power output. Installation of a custom exhaust system allows for better airflow, something very sensitive for a naturally aspirated engine.

To keep the heat at bay, the Evora GT4 comes stock with a twin-core aluminium end-tank radiators and a Laminova heat exchanger. Of all the components in the car, the heat exchanger is one of the most interesting applications. In this application it is used to cool down the oil from the engine, although unlike most oil coolers, the oil is run as a jacket to the core of the heat exchanger, passing through conducting fins. The heat is extracted and the cool oil continues on- the benefit to this is that the heat exchanger need not be mounted in a place with good air flow, as the cooling is done internally.

Stopping power is also necessary for racing, and where the other Lotus models like the Exige can benefit from lower weight (and therefore less effect on braking), the Evora is not a light car. As such, both the discs and calipers were uprated, with 4-pot brakes at the front and two-piece belled rotors for the discs. The pedal box also featured twin master cylinders for more braking force.

The Evora GT4 is available with two transmissions: the first is sourced from Cima, and the other is sourced from XTrac. The Cima transmission does not feature the paddle shifters of the XTrac box, but is still a 6-speed sequential type box, built to racing specifications.

Also in place of the standard equipment are 2-way adjustable dampers with Eibach springs. Forged aluminium suspension components were also installed, with corresponding uprated bushes and anti-roll bars. If Lotus is known for anything, it would be for their ridiculously rigid chassis and bodywork- but for safety regulations, a welded-in roll cage was employed as well.

The interior is about as stripped out as you’d expect a race car to be. There’s only one seat in the front, a SparcoEvo racing bucket seat. The Cosworth Omega Dash fills the driver’s view, offering information on the fly from a wide range of sensors. The dash is connected to a D2 data logger for reviewing post race. A fire extinguisher sits within reach of the driver, although usual priority is to get clear of the car before trying to put any fires out.

To round out the car, a good aero kit was installed for better stability. These are more function than form, doing very little to alter the shape of what is already a very good looking car. Front splitters, rear diffusers and a big rear wing all help to maintain the car’s stability when barreling through the corners ofSepang International Circuit.

Although having a decent racing platform, Aylezo Motorsports collaborated with BTB Racing and placed their valuable MMER experiences to further upgraded the car while keeping it within the GT4 regulations. Uprated endurance drive shafts, quick fill lubricating system, extra paddle gear shift compressor accumulators, quick drain oil catch tank, radio communications and a wireless upgraded steering system which houses the electronic paddle shifts completely the car.

FXPrimusAylezo had the fortune of having Top1 Oil among those sponsors backing them up for the race. Lotus Malaysia is very stringent about the lubricants that go into their cars and extensive testing is performed to determine some of the best oils to be used. With that, the Top1 Oil lubricants are endorsed by Lotus Malaysia and Aylezo Racing for use in Lotus machinery.

Furthermore, Top1 lubricants are also well formulated for demanding and extreme situations that you would come across in racing, especially endurance racing. The constant and continuous usage of the engine in the upper rev ranges can cause the lubricants to break down and degrade quicker so keeping them at their optimal range for a longer period of time will be beneficial in an endurance setting.

In the experienced hands of the three man team, consisting of Zen Low, Patrick Ng and Marcus Chye, the Evora managed a very impressive second spot finish in the Sport Production class. Chye in particular is known to autocross a Lotus Exige with great results, and is no stranger to the world of endurance racing either while Zen and Patrick need no introduction in the world of racing, having taken Aylezo Motorsports and BTB Racing to the podium regularly.

Hyperfacts!

Car: Lotus Evora GT4

Engine Mods: Cosworth intake plenum, custom exhaust system, FIA-approved fuel cell with internal high-pressure pump, regulator and filter, twin-core aluminium end-tank radiator, Laminova heat-exchanger

Electronics: Cosworth ECU, D2 data logger

Transmission: Six-speed pedal shift sequential Xtrac transmission

Chassis & Handling: 2-way adjustableOhlins racing dampers, Eibach coaxial coil springs, forged aluminium double-wishbone suspension, uprated bushes, uprated anti-roll bar, multi-point welded-in roll-cage, 4-point air-jack system

Brakes: Four-piston calipers (front), two-piece aluminium belled rotors, race-spec brake pads, twin master cylinder pedal box

Wheels & Tyres: Team Dynamics Racing Pro Race 12 wheels 18×8.5j (front), 18x10j (rear), Michelin racing slicks 24/64-18 (front), 27/65-18 (rear)

Interior: Quick release racing steering wheel, Cosworth Omega dash, gear indicator, fire extinguisher, electrical cut-out, SparcoEvo full bucket seat, Schroth six-point racing harness

Exterior: Front splitter, rear diffuser, rear wing, polycarbonate side windows

Team: FXPrimus Aylezo – BTB

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