1997 Lotus Elise GT1

Following the evolution of the BPR Global GT Series into the much more prominent FIA GT Championship, Lotus followed Porsche and Mercedes in developing a new GT1 car for competition. Against the likes of the McLaren F1 GTR, the Porsche 911 GT1, and the Mercedes CLK-GTR, the Elise-based GT1 faced a hearty and deep-pocketed grid. Lotus shelved the aging Esprit-based race car and built just one production model Elise GT1 to meet homologation requirements. While the Elise GT1 utilized the production aluminum chassis, the body was highly modified for improved aerodynamics. On the outside, a full carbon fiber body gave the GT1 a flowing form. The Elise’s inline-four was swapped out for a Type 918 Lotus 3.5-liter twin-turbo V8 mated to a Hewland six-speed sequential gearbox, although some teams opted for a 6.0-liter LT5 Chevrolet V8 and various other transmission options. Sadly, reliability proved to be a problem for all seven chassis that were built, with the best success being a fifth place at Helsinki. Nonetheless, experiencing the power and glory of this GT race car in Forza will deliver smiles that outshine its racing record.

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