Expose - The Seethrough 340R
pictures by Steve Green, words by Peter Crook
Seen at Harewood and snapped by Steve Green we reveal the world's first seethrough 340R !
The car is owned by Lotus and used by Lotus Employee Tony Shute to compete in hill climbs entered in Class 12A - The Paul Matty Classic Lotus Class Sports Cars.
The car features some novel technology some of which may eventually see application on other Lotus product.
Most radical amongst these is a four part body made from Vacuum Formed Polycarbonate (a process similar to that used in radio controlled model cars) which gives a very light yet strong body. The polycarbonate used on the car is clear with some body panels painted from the underside (no problems with stone chips then!)
We understand that Lotus have taken out a patent on this method of construction (which was originally suggested by Tony Shute's son) potentially enabling some radical new effects on the next generation of Lotus Cars.
Other technical points of note include :
- Dynamics Suspension (of Thetford) active adjustable suspension is fitted, adjustable for both compression and rebound, giving plenty of scope for different conditions.
- The exhaust is manufactured by Blue Flame in titanium alloy and it's compact size gives a sizeable weight reduction.
- The car is based on Proto 1 (chassis no 6001)which was a development car for the 340R Track Pack
- Engine is similar to 190 upgraded 340R/Exige engine
- Lack of mudguards allows 16 inch Exige wheels to be fitted. These are used with Motorsport slicks or wet weather tyres.
At time of writing (12 June 2001) the car has competed in two events with some success:
Llandow - 1st of 25 competitors.
Harewood - 2nd (beaten by a Lotus 69)
We wish Tony well in his endeavors and hope that this represents another potential technical advantage for Lotus Cars.
Radiator and quick release body panels clearly visible
Dynamics Suspension (of Thetford) adjustable dampers
The ultra compact Blue Flame titanium alloy exhaust.
Black finish 16 inch Exige wheels give a mean appearance (helped by the timer activation blade)
A view of the air intake (which we understand is fitted with a mesh to keep out debris)
This is where the pilot sits (umbrella optional).
Carbon fibre race bucket seat helps to keep the weight down