Lotus is primed to join the F1 circus in 2010 and -- to commemorate the iconic brand's return to the pinnacle of motorsport -- it has conjured up the Exige S Type 72, which trades on the success of the winningest F1 car of all time, the Lotus Type 72, which achieved 20 Grand Prix victories between 1970 and 1975.
Given the fact the Type 72 notched up 20 wins, Lotus will produce 20 examples of the Exige S Type 72 for the UK, a further 20 cars for mainland Europe and a limited run of cars in Japan and selected markets around the world.
Pricing in Europe is set at €40,332 (excluding local country tax), which equates to about $65,540 in our money, but of course you'd need to virtually double this figure to get the on-road cost in Australia.
The colour scheme of the Exige S Type 72 reprises the eye-catching black and gold Lotus Type 72 livery and is finished with Type 72 and Exige S logos painted by the same sign writer who prepared racing cars for Team Lotus.
The paintwork is complemented by black-and-gold alloys and the Sport Pack also includes a T45 steel main roll hoop, traction control, twin oil coolers and an adjustable front anti-roll bar.
The supercharged, intercooled VVTL-i engine revs to 8500rpm, and it enables the 935kg Exige S Type 72 to sprint to 100km/h in 4.7 seconds, on its way to a top whack of 233km/h. It's also pretty miserly with the go-juice, quaffing just 6.5 litres/100km on the Extra Urban Cycle.
Interior tweaks include black micro fibre ProBax sports seats with gold stitching and each car comes with a build plate commemorating one of the F1 car's 20 Grand Prix victories.
Optional extras include air-con and a limited-slip diff, and there's also a Performance Pack, which brings a power increase to 191kW, larger AP Racing brakes, enlarged roof scoop (compared to the standard Exige S) and Lotus variable traction control and launch control.
We have to admit it all looks and sounds rather tasty, and the low-volume Exige seems a fitting tribute to the Type 72, which was driven by such Lotus greats as Jochen Rindt, Emerson Fittipaldi, Ronnie Peterson and Jacky Ickx.
The Type 72 won three Formula One Constructors' Championships (1970, 1972 and 1973) and two Drivers' World Championships (the first was won by Jochen Rindt in 1970 and the second by Emerson Fittipaldi in 1972).
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