There is a formula for everything in life if you want to achieve greatness or perfection for the task at hand. For Lotus it has always been a formula of adding lightness, and critiquing balance and appropriate power. On paper, a 1,477 pound car with 252 HP, open cockpit, mid-engine and designed purely to get lap times as low as possible would leave most wondering which Lotus, from what era? That’s the charm of the Lotus 2-Eleven. It takes everything lotus has learned over the years and packs it all into a track-only exhibition of what is possible.
The concept of the 2-Eleven was a bold one considering producing a track-only car (for the North American variant) meant a limited market for Lotus. However, the car was well received when launched in 2007 and production lasted until 2011 with Road and Track variants for a total of approximately 300 examples produced. It borrowed the Toyota 2ZZ-GE Engine from the Exige S, mated it to a Eaton M-62 Supercharger and the car produced 252HP. Weighing in at only 1,477 pounds the 2-Eleven had an impressive power to weight ratio. Clothing the car meant an opportunity to be creative. As a track inspired car it meant Lotus could design it as if they were going racing, or building a car for a class and homologating it as well. Which for a manufacturer can be a costly thing to do. The result was a radical new concept for a modern car company with an open cockpit design and 2-seats. In a way it made Lotus stand out, and it paved the way for future projects such as a 3-Eleven.
The example on offer is a very early Launch Edition, and the 4th example produced. It was delivered new to Lotus Franchise Auto Europe of Birmingham, MI in late 2007 with 925 miles. Prior it was the Lotus North America show car to launch the 2-Eleven and was also driven by F1 legend Emerson Fittipaldi during its promotional debut. It remained with Auto Europe until October of 2008 when it was sold to Fox Motorsports with the mileage showing as approximately 1,200 miles at the time of sale. Fox Motorsports accrued some additional miles but also while servicing the car with an open checkbook as the receipts show. Finally in April of 2016 at 2,820 miles the car sold to its current owner, a collector located in CA. The car saw further but careful track time and continued servicing as required. Today the car shows just 2,903 miles from new and presents as a nearly new car with little to no flaws, superb service history that is up to date and without any needs known.
The analog and pure nature of the 2-Eleven on the track cannot be overstated. No matter your level of experience the 2-Eleven remains an extremely rewarding car to drive as fast as you can and is the perfect machine to critique your abilities as a driver. The saying “its more fun to drive a slow car fast” couldn’t be truer in the Lotus 2-Eleven. Though hardly slow the 2-Eleven keeps the concept of the track car in focus, pure, and simple in contemporary sea of traction control, manettino switches, stability management etc… It is simply the car, you, and the track.