In my seemingly never ending series of the top ten cars I would want in my garage, I have finally come to number 10. This is the one that would be used solely for track days and autocrosses because, quite frankly, it isn’t street legal. The 2001 Lotus Motorsport Elise is a bare bones racer designed specifically to get out on the track and tear the place up. Not many people have seen an Elise of this body style in the US because it was never officially imported here. I like the look of these much better than the new ones (and I do like the new ones), but the more sculpted and flowing body style – although looking a little softer – really fits the profile of the car.
The Lotus Elise in standard trim is regarded as being one of the best handling cars out there, so when the engineers decided to add more lightness, up the power and stiffen the chassis, the result was an all out assault on the senses. The way the car accelerates, brakes and maneuvers through corners is something that has to be experienced to be believed. Not that I have experienced it for myself, but I’ve heard good things…very good things. If you want to judge the performance potential of this car versus others, the best way to do it is to get yourself a Playstation, a copy of Gran Turismo 4 and jump right in on your favorite track.
The numbers are not going to jump out at you if you see them, but as a whole package the car is phenomenal. It carries a Rover K-series engine tuned to give out around 200+ horsepower and some amount of torque that hardly matters. The thing is, this car weighs next to nothing (at least compared to other cars) and that means that with its modest power, it can accelerate 60 in around 4.5 seconds. It will also generate a lot of cornering force thanks to the grippy tires and standard rear wing. The top speed is somewhere around 145, so while it may not be able to keep up on the straights, it will zip through the corners faster than most. If the new one is said to be a go-kart for the street, then this is the best go-kart for the track that there ever was. It would certainly have a nice spot to rest in between race weekends in my garage and is one of my top 10 cars.
Because this has been a very long running series, you can find the rest of my cars right here, in no particular order:
- Subaru Forester STi
- BMW M3 Coupe
- Subaru Impreza P1
- Prodrive P2
- Ariel Atom 300
- Renault Clio V6
- Ferrari F355 F1 Berlinetta
- Audi RS4
- Porsche 959
- Lotus Motor Sport Elise
This list has taken a long time to complete and really does not scratch the surface of all the cars I would love to own. Maybe I’ll continue to add more in the future.