2007 Lotus 2-Eleven

This is where we proud owners can upload information and pictures of our pride-and-joys (their Exige that is..)
User avatar
thommo
Posts: 5047
Joined: Tue Jul 13, 2004 12:50 pm
Location: Lancs

Brilliant write-up. I agree re appearance of the car. I prefer ‘em plain. And yellow is obviously thes best colour of all. Looking forward to following this 👍
Exige S1 No: 139
User avatar
Fonzey
Posts: 1537
Joined: Tue Nov 27, 2018 12:17 am

Thanks all, can't believe how well received the car is. Either that or you're all just being polite. I always considered it a bit of a marmite car.

Following the healthcheck with John and Dave, I took the car home in the midday sun... all 38degrees of it. It was brutal, but survivable, just.

Since the accusump now had a clean bill of health I had a bit of confidence sticking on my sticky tyres. I've used Nankang AR1 for my last trackday or two on the Exige and they've been incredible. My 'track wheels' on the Exige are a set of rather nice 240R forged alloys which I bought to go alongside the OE wheels (which are my Exige road wheels) and as luck would have it, the 240R wheel is standard on the 211 so I now have two sets :) I had the Exige wheels painted shadow chrome recently which Laser blue really pulled off, so still deciding if it works on yellow or not.

Image

It's my favourite S2 wheel bar one (the 2009 260 Cup wheels with the 10x spokes hold the top spot for me).

With the wheels swapped over, it was time for a cold shower and start mentally preparing for the ~80min drive to Donington in what has been the hottest day I can remember.

Kitted up with a few icepacks (you don't want to know where one of them went), a baseball cap cabletied to my now-strapped ballistic goggles and more water than I knew what to do with... I was off.

It was rather uncomfortable but the miles soon melted away and before I knew it I was 20mins away and ready for a fuel top up for the night. I paid £2.18(!!!!!) for vpower and decided to get my money worth by sitting in the AC for 20mins or so...

Image

Fuel at the circuit turned out to be £2.05, a bloody bargain.

Upon arrival we had a bit of downtime before we could get into the paddock, so I broke out the included shower cap to try and keep the cockpit cool. Pretty nice cover, fits well and isn't much of a faff.

Image

I was attending with friends Simon and Chris. Chris was having a shakedown trackday in his recently Honda converted S1.

Image

Stunning attention to detail on the conversion, could eat your dinner out of the engine bay and it's been a pleasure to follow his journey along over the last 6 months or so. Car will be a serious bit of kit once he dials into it a bit, I guess gaining 100bhp is a bit off-putting initially :D

It was a sessioned day with Lotus on Track and MSVT alternating track time. It's a really good setup (usually) as it lets you run an expensive circuit for an affordable couple of hours and I usually end up with more track time when I'm on the clock. When left to my own devices on an open pit evening I tend to waste most of it nattering...

I was absolutely thrilled to see that James Roberts (photographer) was in attendance. He does some LoT days but often doesn't get a look in at MSVT events. In my opinion he is the best trackday photographer doing the rounds right now, he has a real eye for cars and some of the shots he captures are fantastic. The Anglesey photo he got of my Exige last year is a particular favourite.

Image

The format got a bit muddled up, LoT have since handled it brilliantly but it seems like a few communication mishaps between MSVT, the circuit and LoT meant that we effectively lost a session which was disappointing, but in hindsight it was far too hot to be lapping anyway. Finishing early probably saved a car or two...

The sighting laps went without mishap, just trying to get a feel for anything and see if anything would fall off. All good.

First set of hot laps and the car immediately felt slow in a straight line, not just a "it might just be in my head" bit slow, but a "is this car even supercharged?" slow. I knew what to expect from the S2 OE Intercooler setup, and I spent a lot of time and money in the early phases of Exige ownership putting this right (ultimately ending in an air to water chargecooler) so I was ready for it. The conditions were exceptional, but the intercooler was just completely overwhelmed. After coming into the pits, the IC inlet and outlet external temperatures were pretty much the same.

That said, the ECU did its job - pulled a shed load of timing and added a bit of fuel and allowed me to lap safely and reliably. Just slowly! I wouldn't be surprised if the car was barely making 200bhp that evening.

While we're on the bad news chapter, the gearbox shift went from 'moderately annoying' on the road, to 'borderline undriveable' on the track. I had to effectively pretend 2nd gear didn't exist and even navigating between 3, 4 and 5 was a challenge. This is firing straight up the top of the to-do list.

The final bad bit was the rear number plate. G warned me it would melt, SeriouslyLotus warned me it would melt, I knew it would melt. Did I take it off? Did I balls

Image

Car looks pretty mean without rear plate though.

Image

The only other niggle was GoPro performance, it just decided it didn't like the heat. Annoying as I'd spent a bit of time figuring out external mic positions and stuff like that, but only got a couple of scrappy clips between mic failures or camera failures.

Right, onto the good stuff!

Image

The car turns in like nothing I've ever driven before. Just when you start to get comfortable with the thought of "it's just like an Exige", you twitch the wheel and the car doesn't even think about asking twice - it just dives in. I didn't know it at the time, but through countless iterations of geometry, damper settings and spring weights on the Exige - THIS is what I've been looking for.

There's no sense of overcoming inertia when turning in or direction changes, it just immediately bite and throws itself in. So much so, it's almost like driving with a quicker rack and initially I was turning in way, way too early as a result.

In addition to the front end, the rear also complied with everything I could throw at it, short of the odd wobble around the hairpin when off the throttle. Get on the throttle early and it squats down and just has grip for days, but I fully expect this to be a different story when it's running the advertised power.

Image

Then finally onto the brakes, they should not be allowed. They are so extraordinary I'm not even going to try doing them justice with words. This is probably the area where I lost most time with the car, because I couldn't wrap my head around how powerful they were and how responsive to pedal input they were. Just slight taps on the pedal was scraping speed off like crazy, and dive on them properly and lean on the ABS would have the harnesses straining to pin me back. Complete and utter cheat-brakes, are not fair for pretty much any other car on the road and should probably be banned.

As far as I'm aware, they're mechanically identical to the Exige brakes. Same little 2-pot up front and slider at the rear. You could option AP 4-Pots on the front of the 211 (maybe a later car thing?) but I'm honestly not sure what more they can offer, other than looking better. If they increase brake performance even further then I'm not even sure I want to play anymore.

The obvious answer to "why is it so good" has to be the weight, but I think that's not doing it justice. There must be something else at play... surely. I took a passenger out for what became the final session and he'd been lapping in his S1 Elise, so similar weight and similar brake hardware, albeit missing ABS and Servo. He was utterly gobsmacked at the braking.

Image

Maybe the dampers have to take some credit, I had no complaints with the car balance or body control all evening though I was still a long way from the limits. The car had enough pitch and roll for me to feel the weight transfer in a predictable and controlled way, and you could certainly throw the weight around with the throttle - but I didn't hear a single scrape, bump or scratch all night. Bodywork clearance is far, far better than on the Exige which eats arch liners whenever you lower them to a decent level. I didn't have any data logging in the car yet (an area I'm very fond of), but anecdotal evidence puts my Craner Curves minimum speed approx. 10mph higher than that of my Exige. It was pretty much flat with my lack of power, probably less so when it's on song - but still felt bloody marvellous.

I finished the evening absolutely gutted that we lost a session, the car was just starting to 'come to me', but I'm salivating at the thought of my next trackday. Blyton Park mid August, a regular stomping ground and will allow me to really judge the car compared to my Exige. I just hope it's a bit cooler!

Image

After stopping for food on the way home, I had a lovely cool(ish) blast through the dark to get home. I'm happy to report that the car was back up to its rabid acceleration and power delivery once everything cooled off a bit, assuring me that nothing was broken - it had just got a bit toasty.
User avatar
andybond
Site Admin
Posts: 1859
Joined: Thu Aug 30, 2018 9:16 am
Contact:

A very interesting read.

Do you know the shock specs and also spring rates?

What is the track and wheelbase compared to a S2?

I must say though my brakes on my early s2 are insane. I can shoot water out of the front washer when really standing on them. I wonder if anything is in common parts wise here?
winthattt
Posts: 1133
Joined: Fri Feb 12, 2010 4:45 pm
Location: Sunny Derbyshire

I was at Dony yesterday at there was another plain yellow 211 in the garage next door, Martin Donnelly instructing. Looked great, son report it was brisk. Not yours I assume!
User avatar
Fonzey
Posts: 1537
Joined: Tue Nov 27, 2018 12:17 am

andybond wrote: Thu Jul 21, 2022 10:14 am A very interesting read.

Do you know the shock specs and also spring rates?

What is the track and wheelbase compared to a S2?

I must say though my brakes on my early s2 are insane. I can shoot water out of the front washer when really standing on them. I wonder if anything is in common parts wise here?
I believe the spring rates are around 450lbs front and 600 rear which puts them very similar to the Nitron Clubsports on my Exige, but of course the car is 200kg lighter so they're proportionally stiffer. They're 2-way dampers which gives options for controlling the body somewhat independently of ride quality which may help.

Track and wheelbase are, as far as I'm aware the same as the S2 Exige.

There are some subtle differences, different roll centre config to allow for the obscenely low rideheight (approx 95mm at front jack point vs 120 on my Exige) being the main one.

Don't get me wrong, I've never had a complaint against the brakes in my Exige and I also squirt washer fluid out when I bother to fill it up :mrgreen: (there's a non return valve which you can replace to fix that btw). The 211 is just next level.
User avatar
Fonzey
Posts: 1537
Joined: Tue Nov 27, 2018 12:17 am

winthattt wrote: Thu Jul 21, 2022 10:30 am I was at Dony yesterday at there was another plain yellow 211 in the garage next door, Martin Donnelly instructing. Looked great, son report it was brisk. Not yours I assume!
Not me I'm afraid, a day of instruction with Mr Donnelly would be amazing though!
User avatar
andybond
Site Admin
Posts: 1859
Joined: Thu Aug 30, 2018 9:16 am
Contact:

Fonzey wrote: Thu Jul 21, 2022 11:05 am

Don't get me wrong, I've never had a complaint against the brakes in my Exige and I also squirt washer fluid out when I bother to fill it up :mrgreen: (there's a non return valve which you can replace to fix that btw). The 211 is just next level.
Adds weight if you have a non return valve.

I feel I need to experience these brakes. I guess as 200kgs is missing is certainly helps.

Useful info above, thanks
User avatar
Fonzey
Posts: 1537
Joined: Tue Nov 27, 2018 12:17 am

I like to write out my early plans for a car, always makes for entertaining reading later down the line when none of it goes to plan.

My Exige was somewhat unfinished business, I got 90% of the way there on a few bits but I had a few things I wanted to see through to the end. The 211 allows me to continue this journey fairly seamless but it does mean stealing some aftermarket parts from it.

Data logging and monitoring is something I get quite addicted to, even if I don't know what to do with that data. After each trackday in the Exige I'd be pulling three different SD cards full of stuff - it was great.

This was largely facilitated on the Exige by the EMU Black ECU and the ECUMaster ADU Dashboard.

Image

Between these two I could log parameters for pretty much everything the engine was doing, plus some driver performance metrics too via the GPS track logging (where allowed, obviously). I also had goals to add more, TPMS to review tyre warm up, EGT's to make sure any ignition control such as launch/traction control wasn't going to melt pistons and a few other bits and pieces were all in the pipeline.

As a passive benefit of running a standalone ECU, you do of course end up gaining power... it's just one of those things. I'm keen not to blow up more C64 gearboxes than I have to in this car so creeping the power up is not on the agenda. For that reason I'd like for a "phase 1" to keep the ECU out of the car, and just run the dashboard instead. Another reason is that the 211 boasted a fairly trick adjustable TC setup when it first launched, probably old hat now - but I'd like to try it out a bit before sticking the EMU in. The EMU has its own variable TC setup, but it would be tuned by yours truly - and I really don't think I'd do it justice.

The Lotus CAN stream is very limited on the pre-08 cars, so I'll only be able to get basics like RPM, Coolant and Speed from it. Anything else will need a sensor connected directly to the ADU. Luckily it has I/O to spare, so there's no real problem there.

I hope in the next few weeks to have the ADU fitted along with data for:

IAT (will be a new sensor into the boost pipes as the OE sensor data isn't broadcast over CAN on the Lotus ECU)
Oil Pressure (Sensor taken from the oil filter sandwich plate)
Oil Temp (likely taken from the sump once a new baffled one is fitted)
Gearbox temp (taken from the redundant fill plug which sits just below the fill level)

The GPS addon for the ADU will be configured, which will give me speed (in addition to the VSS I'll get via CAN) and my track logging stuff for allowable events.

Once I have some data, this will allow me to progress with item #2 on the list. Intake Air Temps.

I've been through a lot of this before with the Exige, I added auxiliary ducting, heatshields and all sorts. I made good gains, but not all of those will be applicable to the 211 architecture. Ultimately I went with an A2W chargecooler because I just wanted the best setup I could get. I was really hoping to avoid this on the 211 to stick to its lightweight roots wherever possible, but it may be inevitable.

My plan for now is to log as much IAT data as possible and work on some minor and subtle alterations. I don't expect to gain much, but if I combine it with more ordinary operating temps (compared to the nigh 40C ambients we had at Dony) it might be enough for me to "live with" A2A intercooling longer term.

Item 3 is the gear shift, it really needs addressing. I don't know for sure yet, but I suspect it's an issue with the later 'blue ball' shifters that the earlier cars like my Exige were not subject to.

Image

There are cases where this bush arrangement deteriorating has left people completely unable to select gears - so it may become more than just annoying. I'm not sure where to go yet, the replacement gear lever (bush not available on its own) seems to be an obsolete part, and I wouldn't be too enthusiastic about buying a second hand one. Reverting to the 06 setup might be possible, but again I expect I'd run into supply problems and I don't fully understand what specifically needs replacing.

There's been talk of 3D printed/aftermarket solutions, some quite recent - but nothing ever seems to see the light of day unless somebody can correct me.

That's quickly leaving just the option of an aftermarket shifter mechanism. There are a couple of options now, with more in the pipeline. Getting the exposed shifter from a later Lotus car would be the ideal, but again I'm going to end up scratching around for parts I think - and I'd much rather just get something all in one go, on a quicker timeframe.

I'll continue research, but I'm open to suggestions.

Final item on the short term list is just tidy tidy tidy. It's a very well presented car, but I'll be taking off, cleaning/painting and fixing anything I find along the way. Front splitter is probably front of the queue, maybe with a fabricated replacement for the front ally undertray.
lotuslee
Posts: 384
Joined: Tue Feb 04, 2014 5:58 pm

Great car Fonzy and loving the read keep it up.
I can personally recomend the Dolomiti shifer i fitted to my Exige. I went a bit silly fitting the Lotus open gear console etc but its designed to fit behind a std housing or beautiful if you leave exposed.
I can put you in touch with the chap who has mine im sure he will let you try it he is not a million miles from you.
It feels and performs better than the last Lotus geniune shifters.
WhatsApp me if you want Manuel's number he is a lovelly guy.

Image

Image

Image

Image

Image
seriouslylotus
Posts: 1949
Joined: Fri May 14, 2010 10:43 am
Contact:

As you all probably know/remember, We installed the Lotus open shifter into the Elise eleven project car
The shift after installation was 100% and the best gear change of any 4 cylinder car I have driven (Lots as you can imagine)
We have the change cables in stock to allow a 'proper install' as well
When we installed the lever mechanism, the fixing bracket also used the original fixings in the chassis, so no drilling, putting in rivnuts etc etc
Fomzey, If its any help I have the removed lever etc for the Elise, Its the early one with uprated cables, You are welcome to try it in your car

The install pics are in this linkhttps://www.exiges.com/viewtopic.php?t=20895&start=170
Post Reply

Create an account or sign in to join the discussion

You need to be a member in order to post a reply

Create an account

Not a member? register to join our community
Members can start their own topics & subscribe to topics
It’s free and only takes a minute

Register

Sign in