Lotus Esprit GT300I purchased her last year and I have just finished a total restoration. She was built by the Lotus Racing department in 1993 for Lotus Australia. According to invoices, the build cost was in excess of 200,000GBP. She was shipped to Australia on flight QF2 together with two of the Lotus Race dept techs to race at Bathurts in the GT production category.
The car was ordered by Lotus Australia (Monarch Motor Imports Pty Ltd) and was billed by Lotus Cars Limited on 25th of Feb 1993. It was shipped by air on 17 March 1993. It was a purpose race built Sport300 with non galvanised chassis and lots of carbon fibre panels, identical to the cars that raced at 1993 LeMans, specifically to contest the Australian GT championships.
The car was built in Lotus Engineering by Alan Knobs and Kevin Youngs and both accompanied the car to Australia for 4 weeks to teach the local Lotus chief mechanic Paul McCreery. It had pole in almost every race it entered. It held the Bathurst 24hr fastest lap record for over 10 years, at the hands of Larry Perkins in 1993. In 1994 it won the GT championship driven by Brad Jones.
1993 engine number (which is on the car right now) is LP910930228110 There was a 1994 engine sent by Lotus Cars to Lotus Aust for the 1994 season, but it was never fitted. According to Chris van Wyk, General Manager at Lotus Australia in those days, it was specifically built by Lotus Cars Limited as a racing car and it was delivered in Monaco White.
Since Sport 300's were not officially for sale in Australia at that time, after she landed, she was fitted with S4 panels and wheels. She raced in the Bathurst 12 hour driven by Larry Perkins who kept doing lap record after lap record until he broke her with 30minutes to go. In 1994, Sport 300's were officially for sale in Australia, so she was returned to Sport300 look. She retained the rear S4 bumper, as well as the S4 interior door skins.
Brad Jones won the GTP championship that year with her. She was built to basically the same specs as the LeMans entries, such as non-galvanised chassis, but with a few required mods. GTP rules didn't allow her to have fuel bladders, so normal tanks were retained. Also, the roof vented roof and bonnet panels were not allowed. She also has working electric windows and mirrors, as dictated by GTP rules (cars must be 'standard' production). But the panels are so thin, they are almost flexible. The bonnet, roof and tailgate are very thin carbon fibre. The dash switches (hazards, parkers, etc) hide various add-ons such as over boost, gear box cooler activation, ABS on/off, etc.
I put her on a 500bhp hub dyno, and the dyno couldn't keep up with the quickness of her acceleration or the peak power. She has a 8,000rpm redline, and on 98octane fuel, we were achieving 444bhp at 6,000rpm, with a dead flat torque curve. I haven't weighed her yet, but according to some of the techs that were involved with her, she's supposed to be 900kg dry.
I made her in the #44 LeMans livery as it makes her look her best. She's an absolute animal to drive. Insanely quick, and LOUD. She only has a straight 6" dump pipe that shoots flames at every oportunity.
Measured 444bhp at 6,000rpm. And the torque curve was still flat, meaning she was relentless. Redline is at 8,000rpm. I can't tell you the exact mods, but I can find out easily. In '93, Lotus Australia who comissioned the car, sent their service manager Paul McCreery to Lotus UK specifically to learn this car and he became the car's custodian, by travelling with her at all the races, and being in charge of all the maintanance. Paul now works for me, as my private mechanic, maitaining all my cars ( I worked it out it's cheaper to have a full time mechanic on board, rather than pay maintanance on all the cars).
GT300 engine bay before resto, GT300 interior half way through resto
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