The Lotus Exige R-GT made its debut as a course car at the weekend’s Geko Ypres rally in West Flanders, among the most beautiful rally venues in the world.
Portuguese driver Bernardo Sousa, who is set to race the Lotus Exige R-GT in anger later this year, drove the official car ahead of its first race in the FIA European Rally Championship and the Intercontinental Rally Challenge.
As part of the continuous development programme of the Exige R-GT, Ypres offered the Lotus International Team the opportunity of track time and also gave the rally world a chance to have a close look at Lotus’s exciting GT class challenger with the team of Sousa and Corrado Mancini on board. Rival drivers and fans alike were clamouring to get up close to the Exige all weekend.
The team took advantage of the 18 special stages of the rally to test different set-ups, engine modes and electronics solutions. There were no major technical problems, only some small teething issues regarded as normal in the development of the car that has covered only 1,000 km of testing to date. The only issues were an alternator failure and a faulty brake connection.
"The car continues its phase of growth and evolution," explained Bernardo Sousa. "Here in Ypres progress has been steady and significant. The great potential of the Exige R-GT is emerging day after day. In this phase the team and I are trying to achieve the highest reliability and are only relatively interested in the stage times, even if I must say that the car is proving to be faster every day. I am very satisfied with both the car and the level of professionalism that the Lotus International Team is showing every day."
The next event for the team is this weekend at the Goodwood Festival of Speed, where Lotus is the featured marque, followed by two separate private test sessions to be held by July 15th.