With a limited range, Lotus is constantly launching special editions of its cars to keep the appeal constantly high. This time, Lotus has today unveiled two unique Celebration cars, the Exige Type 49 and 79, at the Goodwood Festival of Speed 2018 to pay homage to some of the most recognisable racers in the British brand’s history and its 70th birthday.
The Exige Type 49 and 79 Celebration cars have been hand crafted by Lotus Exclusive in a salute to Lotus’ 70th birthday, and the victory anniversaries of two historic race cars that helped define the brand as one of the all-time great automotive marques.
With the two one-off cars containing the marque’s DNA, the Exige Type 49 marks the 50 years since Graham Hill clinched both the Drivers’ and Constructors’ World Championship in the Lotus Type 49. The Exige Type 79 salutes the 40 years since Mario Andretti won his World Championship, and Lotus the Constructors’ Championship, in the Lotus Type 79.
Based on the wildest ever incarnation of the Exige the Cup 430, the Type 49 and 79 set the fastest lap time for a road car around Lotus’ hallowed Hethel test track, covering the 2.2 miles in just 1 minute 24.8 seconds.
Employing a supercharger and chargecooler designed specifically for the potent engine, both the Exige Type 49 and 79 possess 430 hp at 7,000 rpm and 440 Nm (325 lbft) of torque from 4,000 rpm. 0-60mph is demolished in just 3.2 seconds (0-100 km/h in 3.3 seconds) before they reach a top speed of 180 mph (290 km/h).
As the leader in lightweight sports cars, the Type 49 and 79 maximise the benefits of the latest technologies and advanced materials to weight just 1,056 kg in their lightest configuration, bestowing the Celebration cars with a power to weight of 407 hp / tonne. In addition to cutting mass, the carbon composite body panels also deliver the cars’ distinctive styling and aerodynamic set up. The high-gloss visible weave components include the front splitter, front clam, air blades, unique bargeboards, roof panel, rear tailgate, straight-cut wing and diffuser surround.