The Lotus Elise, one of the world's finest sportscars, has been chosen as the Pace Car in Europe's premier Sportscar Event, the FIA Sportscar Championship 2003.
Two Lotus Elise 111s have been supplied by Lotus Cars Ltd of Hethel, England, to lead the starting grid of sports prototype cars, such as Ferraris, Domes, Pilbeams, and Lolas. The Elises are standard road cars except for the regulatory addition of a roll cage, and the obligatory Pace Car warning and signal lights.
The Lotus Elise was chosen as the Pace Car as it is the vehicle best suited to the high performance demands of keeping the 12000hp of the competing racing cars under control during the rolling start, and during the race when track conditions or competition conditions require.
Although the Elise 111s has only 160hp, compared to the nearly 600hp of the competing cars, the Elise is considerably lighter at 757kg (up to 900kg for the SR1 race cars) ensuring that the Lotus can be driven quickly and safely at the front of the race when it is necessary bring out the pace car.
Marco Feser, General Manager of Lotus Cars Europe is very pleased with being able to supply two Lotus Elises as Pace Cars for the Championship:
"The Elise is a very high performance road car that is also beautifully suited to track use. It is very lightweight which makes for a very agile and nimble pace and safety car – the perfect choice to ensure the smooth running of one of the world's greatest races series."
Steve Lydon, Chief Operating Officer of the FIA Sportscar Championship commented:
"We are looking forward to having the Lotus Elise leading the grid in the Championship as the Pace Car. Lotus is such a legend in the motor sport world and there is no better marque for leading the grid in this official capacity."
FIA Sportscar Championship – Calendar 2003 (Subject to confirmation)
Round 1 - Estoril, Portugal 13 April
Round 2 - Eurospeedway Lausitzring, Germany 10 May
Round 3 - Monza, Italy 29 June
Round 4 - Oschersleben, Germany 20 July
Round 5 - Donington Park, UK (evening race) 9 August
Round 6 - Spa-Francorchamps, Belgium (1000km) 31 August
Round 7 - Nogaro, France 21 SeptemberPublished 14 April 2003