World's only Lotus Exige 300RR GT racer joins FIA GT Zhuhai race The world's only 400 bhp Lotus Exige 300RR GT racer has decided to join the FIA GT Championship China Round at the Zhuhai International Circuit, scheduled on 22 and 23 October ...
World's only Lotus Exige 300RR GT racer joins FIA GT Zhuhai race
The world's only 400 bhp Lotus Exige 300RR GT racer has decided to join the FIA GT Championship China Round at the Zhuhai International Circuit, scheduled on 22 and 23 October 2005.
This will be the first time that Lotus has entered the FIA GT Championship proper since the Lotus Elise GT1 racer in 1998.
This car is jointly operated by Malaysia 's Proton R3 and Amprex racing teams. It entered both the Japanese Super GT Series Malaysian round in June and the Merdeka Millenium 12 Hours Endurance Race in August. It suffered an engine failure in the Super GT race but won the Merdeka 12 Hours Endurance overall with Japanese driver Genji Hashimoto, Malaysian Tengku Djan Ley and Australian driver Tony Ricciardello. The car also registered a fastest time of 2: 13.970 to start the race on the pole.
Head of Division of Lotus Cars Asia Pacific, Mr. Oh Ka Beng commented on the car's participation in Zhuhai: "For Lotus Cars, it is an opportunity for the southern China motorsports enthusiasts and local Lotus fan/owners to witness live the one and only Lotus GT based prototype in action, following the recent victory in the annual Merdeka 12 Hour race at Sepang. This will also demonstrate the same chassis technology used in the road going Elise."
Since the car has not been homologated by the FIA, it is not allowed to enter the GT2 class of the FIA GT Championship, therefore it will take part in the new for 2005 Group 2 class. Group 2 is technically similar to GT2 but the car must have entered a national GT series (such as the British GT Championship) before it can be admitted.
In the Japanese Super GT series race, the organizers required the team to drop the car's engine power to 320 bhp before allowing the car to compete in the GT300 class. But in the FIA GT Championship the car's output will be back to its 400 bhp maximum but its weight must be increased by at least 50kg.
The car's biggest rival will obviously be the GT2 class dominating Porsche 911 GT3 RSR, in particular the works supported GruppeM team. Porsche's 911 GT3 RSR has a power output of 480 bhp but its weight is in excess of 1050 kg, so it is going to be an interesting contest between the two cars.
Interview with Proton R3 Marketing Manager Mr. Khaidi Kamaruddin
1. Why did Proton R3 Amprex decide to join the FIA GT Zhuhai race?
Our motto at R3 is "Redefining the Limits" and that is the underlining factor for our decision to race in Zhuhai. This will be the first attempt for us at the new Zhuhai circuit as well as the FIA GT.
PROTON R3 Amprex will also carry with it the Malaysian flag and with that we will represent our country in China. We want to show to the world how far we have come as a developing automotive nation.
2. What is the aim or expectations of Proton R3 Amprex in this race?
Realistically we only aim to finish the race, the Lotus Exige 300RR has shown time and time again that it is a very competitive car and we will definitely try our hardest in Zhuhai. A a top 10 finish, will be a bonus.
3. What is the greatest strength of the car in your opinion?
Traditionally Lotus cars are all good handling vehicles and the Lotus Exige 300RR is no exception. There are more powerful cars on the grid but in terms of handling this car holds its own. The balance is simply sublime.
4. What is the long term plan of Proton R3 Amprex with the Lotus Exige?
Right now we are working very closely with Lotus UK drafting out plans to produce a variant of the Lotus Exige 300RR. Response from Lotus is very positive and it will be very interesting if it does make it to production.
Beyond that we are looking at competing in Super GT, regarded by many as one of the most challenging and technologically advanced GT series in the world. Of course competing alone is not enough, we know other teams have bigger resources and are more experience but in terms of expertise and determination, PROTON R3 Amprex is not lacking. Knowledge gained from this will be transferred to our performance products and vehicles. Ultimately R3 aims to produce genuine race-bred products for the masses
5. Has any one of the drivers been decided?
We have confirmed Tengku Djan Ley and judging by the excellent performance Tony Riccia rdello showed during the recent Millennium Merdeka Endurance 2005, he is currently on top of our wish list to complete the lineup.
FIA GT Championship China Round will be held on 22 and 23 October 2005 , tickets are on sale now, order your tickets today!
Tickets are available from:
ZIC Hong Kong Office: 2877 2437
Hong Kong race goers may also order your tickets or travel packages at Wing On Travel or China Travel. China race fans please call GZL at 020 8633 8888.
-Zhuhai International Circuit.