Exige Diary June 2008
Removing the Aero Devices
I mentioned removing the wing and splitter to my family and was surprised at the response. The youngest was most upset, suggesting the car looked much better with the aero devices attached. The older son was less adamant and my wife even suggested the car looked better. I wanted to clean up the lines on the car and remove a bit of the "bling".
I remember talking with a person from Lotus about the wheel sizes. Marketing wanted the push-to-start button and the 16 - 17 inch wheel combination. The engineers wanted the 15 - 16 inch wheels because the car handled better with them. I wondered if the rear wing contributed significantly to the downforce and so I did some research.
From the Lotus press release on the Exige Sport:
kg of downforce at 160 km/h - 19.3 kg: front and 21.9 kg: rear) and light weight, the latter made possible
through innovative engineering and clever design.
From an Richard Hill at Lotus:
I will take Richard's advice and try the car without the wing and splitter. I was impressed that the aeor downforce was portional to the weight distribution of the stationary car. This helps keep the handling the same, no matter the speed.
Unfortunately there is a side effect of the aero downforce. The springs of the car must be capable of handling the extra apparent weight. I noticed the increased spring rate when I tried to lower the car according the the track package specification. The ride height did not come close to the 120mm specified because the springs were stiffer. A friend with contacts at the factory was able to confirm the increased spring rate and hopefully will be able to supply the specifications for a better solution. Because I do not corner at the limit at over 100 mph, I do not think I need the springs. The feel of the car is heavier and less nimble than the original Elise. It may even be possible to put the LSS springs in to regain the original feeling.
I returned my Elise to stock configuration before selling it, assuming the car might be more attractive. I will be the first to admit that I have unusual, read quirky, taste when it comes to setting up the car. I retained the components and was able to install them as before on the Elise. Several of the modifications were retained by the new owner and the components needed to be repurchased. You can see instructions for these modifications on the Elise portion of the website.
- raise the seat one inch
- install a loud horn (Steibel)
- remove the visors and the interior rear view mirror
- install the steering wheel from the 111R
- install Lotus Cup wheels and Toyo R888 tires
- install a Halon fire extinguisher in front of the passenger seat
- remove the wing and splitter
- remove the "EXIGE" decals and the "S" letters above the turn indicators
- turn off the day time running lights
- make a clear panel to mount the traction control knob and status button
Information on all these modifications will be provided in September 2008.