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Brief Year by Year History of the Esprit

1975 - Worldwide introduction of Esprit S1, powered by the Lotus Type 907 engine. 1977
- Lotus Esprit featured in James Bond film "The Spy Who Loved Me".

1978 - Introduction of Lotus Esprit S2.

1980 - Esprits are uprated with 2.2 liter engine and chassis guaranteed for 5 years.
- Turbo Esprit introduced to the U.K. market with 210 BHP and revised suspension.

1981 - Esprit S3 introduced for U.K. market. Uses chassis of the Turbo Esprit.
- Turbo Esprit featured in James Bond film "For Your Eyes Only".
- Lotus cars are not imported to U.S. during 1981 -1982.

1983 - Importation of Lotus cars resumes to U.S. market. Introduction of Turbo Esprit to U.S.

1988 - Heavily revised Esprit Turbo with new body and interior is introduced. Body construction stronger and formed with VARI process.

1989 - Esprit Turbo receives electronic Multi-port Fuel Injection (MPFI), distributorless ignition and stronger gearbox with improved gear ratios. - Esprit Turbo SE is introduced with 280 BHP chargecooled engine.

1990 - Lotus Cars USA campaigns team of Esprit Turbo SE's in SCCA World Challenge Cup. 4 wins (out of 8 races); two 1-2 wins; 6 pole positions.

1992 - Doc Bundy, driving the Lotus Sport X180R, takes the Driver's title in USA national sports car series (Bridgestone Potenza Supercar). Tom Langeberg wins Dutch Production Car Series in Lotus Esprit
- Launch at NEC of Esprit Sport 300: -- the highest performance Lotus to date. Bases on the X180R, the Sport 300 blends racetrack performance with road manners in a dramatic variant of the classic Lotus Esprit shape.

1993 - Lotus Esprit S4 introduced -- new elegant bodyshell encloses dynamic improvements such as power steering (standard).
- Lotus Esprit Sport 300 goes into production
- Two Lotus Esprit Sport 300s race at Le Mans -- first works-supported entry for over 30 years.

1994 - Lotus Esprit Sport 300 driven by Thorkild Thyrring wins the British National GT series.
- Esprit S4s announced at Birmingham Motor Show -- 300 hp peak power in S4-based body, with new wheels, Michelin tires, and revised suspension settings to suit increased performance.

1995 - Lotus Esprit sales worldwide buck static market, recording an 11% increase in the first six months against previous year.

1996 - At the Geneva Auto Show Lotus introduces the Espirt V8, powered by a purpose-built Lotus V8 engine. The 3.5 liter, twin-turbocharged unit produces 350 hp at 6500 rpm and 295 lb ft of torque at 4250 rpm. The engine is impressively small, fitting comfortably inside a cube 28" high, 28" wide and 24" long with all ancillaries in place. Of modular design, the engine can support a 4-liter naturally aspirated version as well as a family of V6 and four-cylinder engines.
- All new Lotus Espirt GT1 car (type number 114) is unveiled at the Paul Ricard circuit for the first race of the 1996 GT series. The new racer features the Lotus V8 engine, a new six-speed racing transmission, F1-sytel aerodynamics, carbon brakes, and is down to the 900kg minimum weight limit. After showing early promise, the car retires due to aš fractured exhaust.
- The Lotus GT Team finishes a credible second at the Silverstone round of the BPR Global Endurance series.

1997 - Lotus debuts its Espirt V8 PPG Pace Car at the North American International Auto Show in Detroit. The car includes O.Z. Racing. wheels, Euro headlamps and a unique PPG paint containing special translucent particles held in suspension, allowing the paint to change color from black to gold as light conditions vary.
- The Lotus Esprit V8 earns an Exceptional Merit Award in teh Robb Report Exotic Car of the Year balloting.
- Lotus Cars USA dedicates a new 31,000 square-foot headquarters building at 500 Marathon Parkway in Lawrenceville, GA.
-1998 Lotus Esprit V8 debuts at the London Motorshow with a revised interior, improved shift mechanism, twin-plate clutch and new ABS system. A GT version of the V8 also debuts.
- Group Lotus terminates its agreement with GT1 Racing Ltd. GT1 ran the Type 115, and Elise- based GT-1 race car, in the FIA GT Championship. Plagued by a sanctioning body ruling which made the Lotus V8 turbo engine uncompetitive, the GT1 team switched to a 6.0-liter normally aspirated V8 as the 1997 season began, but never recovered.

1998 - The 1998 Esprit V8 is unveiled at the Chicago Auto Show. A restyled interior, new climate control unit, twin-plate clutch with revised hydraulic actuation, modified gearbox and selector mechanism, refined ABS system, new windshield wiper design, and upgraded alarm round out the changes.
- The Birmingham Motor Show is the setting for the launch of The Esprit Sport 350, with a lightened bodyshell, a carbon fiber rear wing and side fins developed for the Type 115 GT-1 race car, and magnesium O.Z. wheels. It is painted in a distinctive aluminum color with blue highlights and features blue cam covers on its 3.5 Liter Lotus V8 engine.

1999 - The Esprit 350 Sport is released boasting the lightest magnesium wheel in production today, a carbon fibre wing, upgraded brakes and a large weight saving over the V8. No power increase still having the 350bhp of the V8

2002 - The Esprit gets a Facelift for 2002, new wheels and rear light cluster are the main changes. Replaces V8-SE & V8-GT to leave just one model on sale at a reduced price of £49,995. US Market gets an 25th Anniversery model with centre exit exhaust.

 

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