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Your Own Lotus Formula One Car?

British maker will put you in one for $1 million.

by on Aug.17, 2010

For a cool $1 million you can own your own Lotus Formula One car.

Let’s be absolutely honest, how many of us haven’t fantasized what it would be like to trade in our mundane sedan or SUV for a slick little Formula One race car, skip the morning commute in favor of a couple hundred lightning-fast laps on the track?

Now, says, Lotus, you can do that…all you have to do is come up with a cool million dollars cash for the British firm’s new Lotus 125.

Think of it as “the ultimate Formula One fantasy car,” suggests Chris Arnold, the commercial director for Lotus Motor Sports.

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An Adrenaline Rush!

The Lotus 125 really is about as close as a “civilian” might get to lining up on the grid alongside a Michael Schumacher, says Arnold, “while still being customer friendly.  A Formula One car can require a team of as many as 80 people to keep it running,” he notes, but Lotus is aiming for something you could pretty much handle on your own.

The Exos Club, named for the exosphere, influenced the paint scheme, which goes from sky blue to the blackness of outer space.

The track-ready Lotus 125 is, for all intents and purposes, a copy of the British marque’s 2010 Formula One design but for having a slightly longer cockpit – to handle drivers measuring anywhere from 5’4” to 6’2”, according to Arnold – and a downsized engine.

The 3.5-liter Cosworth V8 is expected to make 640 horsepower.  But, and this may be the most significant detail of all, it’s expected to keep running with only the most minimal maintenance, for a full 3,000 kilometers without an overhaul.  In F1, you’re lucky to get two races out of the highly-stressed engines now in use.

The 125th project in the Colin Chapman "bible."

There’s even an onboard starter, so the Lotus 125 will fire up with the simple touch of a button, rather than requiring a crew member specifically to crank up the engine for you.

Those who buy the Lotus 125 will be offered membership in the exclusive Exos Club.

Top speed, says Arnold, is about 200 mph, making it “a serious motor car, indeed.”  On the track, Lotus estimates the 125 will turn 4G corners.

A buyer will have to make some choices – whether to opt for iron or carbon brakes, for example.  And Lotus is looking at other options and upgrade.  A bigger engine is one under consideration, hints Arnold, noting the transmission could handle significantly more torque.  That gearbox, by the way, is a F1-style, electronically-shifted manual with paddle shifters on an equally track-ready instrumented steering wheel.

As you might imagine, the low-slung Lotus 125 is not exactly street legal.  (Just finding a place for a license plate would be a challenge.  So, what to do with it, other than invite people into your garage?

But for a larger cockpit and the Cosworth engine, this is a 2010 Lotus F1 car, down to the instrumented steering wheel.

There are plenty of tracks going up around the country, indeed, around the world, such as one in Monticello, New York, designed to give affluent motorsport fans a chance to drive their fantasy cars without worry about radar traps.

But Lotus is taking things a step further.  To complement the launch of the 125, it is creating Exos, a new club available specifically for owners of the new race car.  Any buyer can join, Arnold explains, though membership will be limited to 25 worldwide.  In fact, he adds, Lotus will build just enough of the cars to ensure there are 25 members of Exos and then pull the plug.

Though production of the Lotus 125 is only set to begin later this year, Arnold says that based on preliminary orders and inquiries they expect to have the entire project “closed off” by Christmas, so if you’re ready to pony up, move fast.

As demand for the Lotus 125 is likely to spread the cars out all over the world, the British maker has kindly offered its logistics services – for a fee – of course, and hints Exos may organize some races of its own on the same tracks now used for the Formula One circuit.

Oh, and if you’re wondering about the new car’s name, it isn’t short for Formula One – 25 vehicles – as I was so certain.  It’s actually in line with classic Lotus Formula, derived “from Colin Chapman’s bible,” says Arnold.  It’s simply the firm’s 125th project.  Serendipitous, nonetheless.

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