It’s called a concept, but this Lotus Evora GT4 race car, unveiled at Auto Shanghai, is pretty much as it will appear on the world’s race tracks in 2020.
The current Evora GT4 has been around in one form or another since 2010 – a very long life for a factory-built race car. Its been extremely successful too, taking class and outright wins in major GT races and championships around the world.
The Evora road car has evolved a lot in the last decade and the GT4 Concept follows suit. Lotus is being cagey about the racer’s spec but it will likely be closely based on the Evora GT430 road car, which is powered by a mid-mounted, Toyota-based, supercharged 3.5-litre V6 motor producing, as the name suggests, 430hp.
Cars that race in the GT4 category are essentially modified road cars, rather than pure-bred racing cars like the faster GT3 machinery. Even so, there’s quite a lot of leeway in the rules to improve aerodynamics, handling and braking. Again, Lotus is being cagey about what changes have been made under the skin, though the added aero addenda are fairly obvious. And there’s all the usually safety gear and a proper racing digital instrument system.
The FIA, motorsport’s governing body, uses a Balance of Performance system to equalise the speed of the incredibly diverse GT4 field, which ranges from the KTM X-Bow and Alpine A110 to the McLaren 570S and Audi R8, to ensure that no one car dominates causing an expensive arms race among the various manufacturers. To achieve that end, air restrictors are used to limit or increase power output and/or ballast is added to increase weight. As such, it’s hard to say exactly how much power the new Evora GT4 will produce and what it will weigh – Lotus estimates around 1,200kg.
Lotus chose Auto Shanghai to unveil the Evora GT4 Concept as its new owner, Chinese automotive giant Geely, wants to push the marque in China. As such, a Lotus Driving Academy will be established in China and a couple of local drivers, both winners in various Chinese series, have been added to the factory’s roster. There’s even going to be a Lotus factory in China.
By Graham King