The T125 is, according to Lotus, the closest someone can come to an F1 car. Pretty close to one as it isn't road legal but it does have something an F1 car does not have, a starter motor so it does not need someone with a long stick probing the rear of an F1 car every time it has to start. Limited to 25 units it will be around Ł650,000 each and with each purchase the lucky (and wealthy) buyer will gain entry to the Exos club which will offer the lucky 25 an experience to feel like a real F1 driver. Like the Ferrari FXX and 599XX programs, special races/events will be held at circuits around Europe where the buyers will be trained by Lotus' top drivers including current F1 driver Jarno Trulli. They will also get expert advice from Lotus mechanics, engineers, nutritionists and fitness experts. The latter two are more important if the buyer is of wider girth than the T125's cockpit.
Lotus says that this car isn't an F1 car. But after reading that the T125 is powered by a detuned 631bhp, 332lb ft 3.5-litre Cosworth V8 racing engine (the current F1 car runs a 2.4liter engine and has over 700bhp) which redlines at 10,300rpm (F1 cars are over 18,000rpm) but a ‘push to pass’ button ups the redline by 500rpm (like an F1 car). The rear wheels are driven through an F1-style six-speed semi-automatic sequential gearbox with steering wheel-mounted paddle shifters. The T125 is 4910mm long, 1890mm wide and 1011mm high. It weighs 650kg as it has carbon everything like an F1 car; carbonfibre monocoque, carbonfibre suspension and carbon ceramic brakes The car has been designed in-house at Lotus’s Hethel HQ without involvement from the Lotus Racing F1 team (or so they say).
It actually reads like a mix of an F1 car and something from the A1GP, Formula 3 and so on. But unlike the Ferrari FXX program, this is an open car type of vehicle. No roof over your head, just a helmet and very expensive technology everywhere. Lotus even claims that the T125 will be able to be operated by just one person instead of a whole F1 battalion of engineers, mechanics and tea ladies. The service intervals aren't the F1 like two races and its new engine time as the Cosworth engine can run for 4500km before it needs to be brought back to Hethel. But it still is radical. Engine, carbon bodywork aside, it has all the wings, splitters, winglets, diffusers, slits, slats and slam panels exactly like what we see on an F1 car.
This car is part of Lotus' CEO Dany Bahar who will reveal his new plans to move Lotus upmarket at the upcomming Paris motor show. He believes that Lotus was at its strongest when it was firmly involved in multiple forms of motorsport and there were strong connections between road and track. Maybe it is with this radical take on 'specials' Mr Bahar's gameplan will take off successfully.
The first 10 deliveries are expected by April 2011. I am totally at stunned by this piece of news, and pretty jealous of the 25 lucky blokes who put money down for this really radical car (that we normal, not Micheal Schumacher type people can buy and drive). No, not really. I may not be able to fit inside one so I'll settle for a Ferrari FXX if I had the dough.