Is this Evija-derived single-seater the future of Lotus racing?
Lotus is planning ahead for an all-electric endurance racer to take to the track in 2030. Given a clean sheet of paper to imagine what racing will look like in a decade, Lotus Engineering has come up with a crazy jet fighter-inspired machine that includes shape-shifting body panels to aid its aerodynamics.
The ER-9 has a fast jet-like canopy and a delta wing upper body, along with various vertical control surfaces to manipulate the air around the car at speed. At the touch of a button the bodywork could shift from reducing drag on the straights to providing maximum downforce for braking and cornering. Lotus says it would be “partly driven like a car and partly flown like a fighter jet.”
Experimental Racer 9 is named as a tribute to the Lotus Mark IX that made its Le Mans debut in 1955, and the advance in technology is extraordinary since the open sports car first took to the track. Where the Mark IX had a tubular stainless steel chassis clothed in aluminum, the ER-9 is all carbon fiber, and where the original Lotus Le Mans racer used a 1.1-liter Coventry Climax engine, the new concept uses four electric motors and deploys 1970 hp with torque vectoring. (Running gear comes from the Evija hypercar.)
Lotus believes that by the time 2030 rolls around, battery chemistry will have advanced to give greater range and performance, but the ER-9 has also been designed to “hot-swap” batteries during pit stops. Good news: there’s no suggestion that the ER-9 will be autonomous, so Lotus looks like it’s sticking with its “For the drivers” slogan.