(Some related pictures can be found in "Our Pics" section)
· 08/2008 - It is well known (also noticed during our test drives) that the Exige has some major blind spots. Apparently Lotus assumes that everything you see in front of you, will soon be far behind you. Basically these mirrors eliminate all blind spots except for 180deg behind the driver. The closest part of the mirror is spherical convex (like OEM), the outer edges are aspheric. By the time a car is out of view in the mirrors, they are in your peripheral vision. These are great mirrors and should be considered no matter what car you have. We actually purchased them in June, before we had the car. I installed them within the first week of car ownership.
REMOVED THE REAR VIEW MIRROR
· 08/2008 - This is technically the first thing that I did to the car when it was delivered. I know you are asking, "what is the deal with his fascination with mirrors?" I don't have one, but like I mentioned above, Lotus seems to think mirrors are unnecessary. The rear view mirror comes with the car, however all it does is take up space on the windshield. When you look at it, you see only the Exige-S 240's intercooler behind you. As nice as that was, I decided to just assume the engine is on the other side of my rear window.
INTERCOOLER AIR INTAKE FETTLE
· 09/2008 - It turns out that the air intake path for the supercharger's intercooler (aka the roof scoop) has some restrictions where the roof meets the rear clam (aka the engine hood). From tests conducted on track by Lotus Sport engineers it was found that it was possible via some simple bodywork modifications to increase the efficiency of the intercooler. Typically, ‘opening’ the apertures resulted in an increased frontal roof intake area of ~ 20%, which thus resulted in an intercooler efficiency increase of ~ 15-20%. Sounded like a great excuse to take off the roof and bust out my trusty Dremel tool!
· 10/2008 - Also purchased before I had the car and installed before 900 of the 1000 break in miles were complete... The stock airbox (box that houses the air filter) is pretty small. A small airbox can only house a small air filter (approx Height 32mm x Outside Length 267mm x Outside Width 107mm). This smaller air filter is only available via a Lotus part number. I installed a larger airbox that is only found on the Lotus Cup cars, this allows me to install an airfilter that has almost 2.5x the surface area of the stock air filter. As an added bonus the filter is also a 'standard' sized filter that is used on many other cars. I decided to use the same brand filter that I have used for 20 years (starting with my Mustang) - a K&N. The combination of using a larger filter (approx Height 29mm x Outside Length 308mm x Outside Width 184mm), and upgrading to a K&N which has a less restrictive airflow provides easier breathing for the car and hopefully a few extra horsepower. It also has an air-intake hole that is over 2x larger than stock, eliminates the "snorkle" which is a long foam/paper tube that Lotus put on the cars to quiet the intake noise, and also gets rid of the "flapper" that also restricted both sound and air below 4000 RPM. Although still not as simple as it should be, it is much easier to replace/clean the filter than it was with the stock airbox.
One thing it does for sure is allow me to better hear the musical noises from the supercharger.
GOTHAM 265 TUNE
· 01/2009 - This is a tune that increases the horsepower from the stock 240hp to 265hp. I plan on going to the dyno one day to get the more realistic 'at the wheels' HP numbers. Update: See "Our Pics" section for dyno graph.
SAIKOUMICHI OIL CATCH CANS
· 01/2009 - All engines experience some degree of blowby which results in some nasty gases in the crankcase, forced induction causes an increase in these gases. In a typical setting, these are run through a PCV system (one-way to prevent higher intake pressures from going back into the crankcase) into the intake stream. Some oil is invariably carried through the system and gets on/in everything as it's typically routed back to the intake source just downstream of air filtration. In a car running an intercooler, the intercooler commonly collects this oil. Obviously oil in the intake charge can cause knocking (detonation) as well. The idea of this device is to condense the oil out of the blowby gases before allowing those gases to be recirculated into the intake.
LARINI DE-CAT RACE PIPE
· 01/2009 - When not driving on public roads, I remove the stock pipe that connects the header to the muffler and replace it with a full 2-1/2" mandrel bent stanless steel pipe that reduces backpressure, weighs less, and produces less heat. It is also ceramic coated to further contain the heat that would otherwise be released into the engine compartment.
UNDER TRAY 1/4 TURN KIT
· 01/2009 - This was also purchased before we actually had the car. If you look underneath an Exige you will find that it is totally flat. Aerodynamically this is a great help, however for convenience it is a great hurt. Apparently Lotus employees get paid by the bolt because there are just under 4.0 x 10^7 torx and other miscellaneous types and sizes of bolts holding the three under trays to the car. That means to change the oil, your first 25 minutes are spent unbolting one of the under trays. Want to work on the exhaust? You guessed it, another under tray and another 25mins. What about in the front of the car? I think you know the answer. To solve this problem I have replaced all but a few bolts in the mid and rear under trays with phillips screws that only take a 1/4 turn to put on or take off. Now I can have one of the under trays off in less than 5 minutes with a simple screw driver and one socket!
· 02/2009 - Actually ordered in Dec 2008 - The stock tube and fin type intercooler is okay, but one quickly notices that it is prone to heat soak when you are not moving at highway speeds. After all, it is sitting on top of the engine. The Lotus Cup car comes with a larger intercooler but with the large price to match. Really Light Stuff (RLS) worked with Bell Intercoolers and made their version of the Cup car intercooler. Mine is clear anodized (stock was black). It is the same size as the Cup car intercooler and flows even better due to its bar and plate construction.
CORNER BALANCE AND RACE ALIGNMENT
· 04/2009 - The point of ordering a car with the "Track Pack" suspension was so we would have the adjustability needed in order to optimize the ride height and be able to corner balance the car. The car was lowered to the Lotus specified "Race" ride height, then balanced so that weights of the right-front and left-rear corners equal the sum of the weights of the left-front and right-rear corners with a driver's weight and 1/2 tank of fuel. Once that was accomplished, the car was dialed in with an aggressive alignment (within the limits of the stock suspension so as to meet class rules) as you would want for a car that would be primarily driven on the track or at an auto-x. To get this right takes a lot of patience!
POLYURETHANE ENGINE MOUNT INSERTS
· 05/2009 - Because the engine is directly behind you, Lotus uses very soft engine mounts to help prevent vibration / noise in the cabin. Soft mounts = a lot of engine movement. Perhaps this is why I have a window behind my head to view the motor - to make sure it has not flown out of the engine compartment during spirited driving! I installed Manly's inserts to almost eliminate the fore and aft movement/rotation of the engine while still providing some insulation so as not to perform like solid motor mounts (aka engine strapped to your back). Some of the advantages of not having mushy engine mounts are: improved throttle response, more immediate weight transfer during corning with throttle, less stress on the exhaust system as it is fixed as the engine tries to move, and improved shift accuracy when engine is under high load. There is now a little more low frequency vibration from idle to about 1500 RPM but that is far outweighed by the benefits.
INTERCOOLER RADIANT HEAT BARRIER
· 05/2009 - I took a day off after Memorial Day and I had some extra time so I finally made an intercooler heat shield. I had seen this on race cars before and thought that it might help prevent the intercooler from heating up due to the immense amount of heat coming from the engine. Again, the intercooler in this car is mounted directly on top of the engine, not the best location to keep it cool. I basically bought some thin sheet metal and applied gold heat reflective material to the underside of the shield.
IN CAR CAMERA
· 09/2009 - Was wishing that we had in-car camera video of our track events. The small Mini-DV camcorder we had was still too large to mount behind the seats. I remembered that before we got married my wife got an old but small digital camera (Casio EX-Z700) so I took a closer look at it. Sure enough, it takes 640x480 video and is small enough to mount directly behind us. All I needed to buy was a 32GB SD memory card (7+hrs of video) and a Chasecam suction cup mount and now we have plenty of space to record and later review a weekend's worth of both our driving sessions!
· 09/2009 - Finally got an extra set of wheels so that we can have a set of tires/wheels for big track, and another set for street or Auto-X type driving. These wheels front 16x7 +27 offset and rear 17x8 +35 offset which in our car's lowered configuration will easily support tire sizes up to 215/45/16 in the front and 245/40/17 in the rear.
SCHROTH PROFI II ASM 4-POINT HARNESS
· 10/2009 - A harness is not just for safety, it also straps you into the car so you can better feel what the car is doing and also so that you do not spend your energy trying to hold yourself in place when thrashing around a track. I purchased and installed a pair for both driver and passenger sides. Features include 2-inch lap belts which fit perfectly against the pelvic bone for more precise contact across the hip area, FIA legal 3-inch shoulder belts, HANs compliant, ASM technology which prevents submarining, and some important features that are specifically helpful in the Lotus like the the Pull Up lap belts (tighten belt by pulling upward instead of downward like with traditional belts) and the street legal cam lock. The Lotus came stock with seats made for harnesses and a "track pack" bar behind the seat to mount them. The original 3-point belts are also still installed for street use.
SECTOR 111 V2 STEERING ARMS
· 01/2010 - The Lotus comes set up with almost no negative camber in the front. Removing all the shims gets you -0.6 to -0.9 (depending on ride height) max. That is still VERY little. You can either shave down the stock arms or buy V2 arms that allow increased negative camber, help with bumpsteer on extremely lowered cars, and come with many shims (for both the front and rear) that allow finer adustment than the stock shims. Now I can achieve more than -2deg camber if I want which REALLY increased the front bite!
· 01/2010 - In 2008, Lotus started installing a clutch delay valve (CDV) to "smooth" drivability and reduce the stress to the transmission when automatic launch control is used. It is a simple valve that restricts the hydraulic fluid used that allows the clutch to be engaged (so the clutch engages slowly). There is no restriction when the clutch is disengaged. On the track I shift very fast (not power shifting), when I do this the CDV slowly engages the clutch. While I am quickly at full throttle all this is doing for the first couple of seconds is slipping the clutch, causing excessive clutch wear and slower acceleration. Because I will never use launch control I removed this valve (replaced the line with a 2007 Lotus part which has no valve). Now I have crisp shifting with no clutch slippage between shifts.
3 CHAMBER INTERCOOLER SHROUD
· 02/2010 - I am proud of this relatively inexpensive but time consuming modification but will keep this description short. Basically the "mail slot" (see "fettle" above) does not provide enough fresh air to the intercooler to keep it cool. A friend and I built custom shrouds that now force the air from the roof through only 1/3rd of the intercooler. The other left and right 1/3rd each have 3" hoses that bring air from the left and right side stock side scoops.
SECTOR 111 GPAN OIL PAN
· 02/2010 - The stock oil pan is just like almost all others placed on stock cars. It is a stamped steel pan that just simply holds the oil. The gPAN is a hand built, aluminum pan that allows an extra quart of oil, and most importantly has an isolated cavity that contains trap doors that allow oil to get in, but not get out (aka baffles and trap doors) which traps the oil around the oil pickup that is within that cavity. This prevents the oil from sloshing away from the engine's oil pickup like it can in the stock pan - after all I have data logged over 1.4 lateral G when I ran just the stock tires and camber on my car. Moroso makes an oil pan but unlike the gPAN it requires modification to use the stock oil dipstick and stock windage tray. For future use the gPAN also has a bung I can use for oil return or oil temp guage etc.
SECTOR 111 / GIRODISC CUPDISCS
· 06/2010 - The OEM drilled rotors and OEM Pagid RS14 black pads are awesome. There is zero fade and plenty of stopping power. There is one problem however, drilled rotors are not made for someone that seriously tracks their car like we do. Yeah they give a racy look and are more than enough for the street and Auto-X but the holes weaken the disc and are prone to cracking - if you track, you will crack. ;) We made it through 2 sets of pads and were 300 miles into the 3rd set when they finally cracked. We replaced them with a set of floating rotors that are slotted instead of drilled. Because the hats are aluminum, each rotor is 2 lbs lighter and the mounting hardware prevents squealing that is commonly associated with floating rotors. We will leave the rear rotors alone for now as they are unlikely to crack as they hardly see any wear at all compared to the fronts. I also made a change to Cobalt XR3 pads that better match heat characteristics of the new rotors.
PROTOTYPE COMPOSITES FRONT LIP/SPLITTER
· 08/2010 - The OEM splitter that came on our car is fiberglass with a plinth for an American license plate (that would either cover the radiator or scrape the ground). Because the car is so low it takes a lot of abuse. At the track it provides real downforce (as does the rear wing) that is noticable when you dont have it. I know that because after a few track excursions our stock splitter was sacrificed to the track Gods. Luckily they normally break off without taking parts of the $4k+ front clam with it. Our goal was to find a used splitter since this typically is an item that commonly needs replacing. None were available so despite the fact that I am not willing to pay for carbon fiber just for looks, it was actually cheaper to buy a new carbon fiber splitter than a new $480 unpainted OEM fiber glass one. Our new splitter does look great, weights almost a pound, costs less than stock, and I requested it be made without the plinth. Prototype Composites will make anything you want, and can add kevlar, more layers of carbon etc. The piece is very high quality.
LOTUS CUP CAR OHLINS AND BWR SWAY BAR
· 09/2011 - Our car came with the track pack which included an adjustable sport swaybar and single adjustable Bilstein dampers. We upgraded to
Ohlin dual adjustable coilovers and a stiffer BWR 5-way adjustable swaybar. The new sway bar includes stiffer polyurethane bushings and adjustable heim-jointed end-link kit and top grade rod ends and hardware. The Ohlin coilovers are valved just as the ones that come with the Lotus Cup cars. There are only three ways to get this setup - 1) Buy a Lotus Cup car, 2) Buy them from Lotus Sport for $6k+, 3) Buy the standard Lotus Ohlins then send them to Ohlin and have them rebuilt, revalved, and resprung to the official Lotus Cup Car specs. The Bilsteins that came with the car were great, but the valving left a lot to be desired. Lotus also chose very soft spring rates even with the Track Pack. The Ohlin valving is FAR superior and the spring rates are MUCH higher (front 458 lbs and rear 571 lbs). This provides a better street ride while, along with the BWR sway bar, greatly reduces body roll. All around, this suspension is superior to our older Lotus Track Pack Bilsteins in every way I can think of. I wish I had purchased these long ago!
AIM SMARTYCAM AND SOLO DL DATA LOGGER
12/2011 - Merry Christmas! We finally have a system that will capture massive amounts of telemetry during our track events. The Solo DL samples GPS, a tri-axial accelerometer, and all the car's OBD-II data at a rate of 10Hz (cellphone timers are only <2-5Hz). This opens up a world of information that can be reviewed to better our driving techniques and car set up. Some of that information is displayed to the driver in "real time" via a back-lit display screen e.g. current, best, predictive lap times, cornering force, and car vitals like IAT, water temp, A/F ratio, etc. The SmartyCam captures video at 720 x 400 pixels @ 30 fps with real time (aka you don't have to manually sync up the data and post-process the video) graphic overlays of RPM, Gear, speed, altitude, G-Force, IAT/water/external temperature, throttle & brake position, lap times, a track map w/ current position indicator, and more. This is available for playback via the built in monitor or for review later via any digital video player (PC, phone, PDA). With the included software I can also review the Smartycam's video in sync with all of the data provided by the Solo DL parsed/graphed as needed. The amount of data is just mind boggling. Information aside, this makes for some pretty cool track videos! So, no more excuses - I will be breaking all the track records now, right? ;) Update: 02/2017 I upgraded the camera to the HD Rev 2.1 version. Now it captures video at 1280 x 720 pixels @ 30 fps.
NCI BATTERY BRACKET WITH BRAILLE B2015 TYPE BATTERY
04/2012 - Besides saving 14lbs of weight in the rear of the car, this battery is a dry cell and deep cycle "GSM" type. The bracket is also more secure than the stock one was.
LOTUS REVISED FUEL TANK
08/2012 - After moving to Hoosier R6 tires I started pulling 1.45G in the corners. This caused my stock fuel tank to fuel starve BAD when only a few gallons under full. In late 2009 Lotus revised the fuel tank design, improving the baffles for non-cup cars. This tank eliminated the fuel starve problem, now I can almost run it empty before having to stop for gas.
DENSO 280LB/HR FUEL PUMP
08/2012 - Since I was swapping out gas tanks anyway, I thought it best to replace the fuel pump with the OEM Exige S260 varient. It can provide 50% more flow over my stock pump -280lb/hr vs 150lb/hr (@47psi). Now maybe a smaller supercharger pulley will be in my future? ;)
BOE ST-7 MUFFLER
05/2013 - Although one of the quieter versions from BOE, this ultra light muffler sounds just awesome and is also rebuildable by easily replacing the stainless steel scrubble packing if needed. Made by BURNS, it is full stainless steel and only weighs 13lbs (OEM was 32lbs).
SERIOUSLY LOTUS SUBFRAME STIFFENER
05/2013 - This light weight brace was developed in the same style as the factory Lotus Sport Cup 260 version - but it works with my gPAN. It reduces the longitudinal and lateral movement of the rear suspension that increases lateral hub stiffness and tire contact-patch stiffness.
DIFFLOW 5-ELEMENT ORIGINAL ROUNDED DIFFUSER
05/2013 - Whoopsie! We bent our original diffuser which was 3-element. The Difflow peice is less expensive than OEM, has 2 additional channels for air and is slightly longer. That means more downforce and less drag than the OEM had. This version keeps the original styling while looking even better than the original one did!
05/2013 - Purchased many months ago I thought since I was doing several things I would install this as well. This replaces the stock balljoints/toe links with something stronger which is a good idea since we are primarily running Hoosier R6s now. Parts include Aurora rod ends, teflon lined custom machined adapters made from billet CR1018 MIG Welded & Bent Sheet Metal Brackets - zinc plated 10.9 hex head bolts + C-class top-lock nuts + Nord-lock washers. It also provided 1lb of unsprung weight savings. Now I can eat that hamburger before the track! haha!
BOE TORQUE300 TUNE, 525CC INJECTORS, 3" MAF INTAKE
11/2015 - Tunes have come a long way since I had to send my ECU away back in '09. Although peak HP most likely is only slightly higher(pending dyno), now the tables have been greatly tuned allowing for more HP throughout the RPM range. Adjustments have also been made for my exhaust, Bosch EV-14 525cc injectors (stock were 440cc), and larger MAF meter and ITG foam filter (finally it is easy to change/clean the filter!!). Now I can reflash at home if I were to make any updates. I can also now data log anything the ECU does and read and reset codes. With only a software upgrade I would also be able to gain full control of the ECU and create my own tunes.
SECTOR 111 SYS.6.PACK, AND SCHROTH PROFI II 6H HARNESSES
11/2015 - A friend sold his Lotus Elise and had a yard sale. The sys.6pack reinforces the driver and passenger seat rails for greater safety in a collision. There are still better ways of enforcing and anchoring the seats but this is better than stock. It also provided an attachment method for a 6-point harness - so I modified the stock seats and installed 6 point belts as well. I did not think the 6-points would be that large of a difference from my old 4-point belts - but I was wrong. Although the 4-points were great, the 6-point belts hold you in place even better. Heads up that this stuff was a pain to install and now I will always need someone else to help when removing the seats.