In the Headlights – the Lightweights {{favouriteCount}} Quantity of Likes

1 Jan 2018

If, like me, you’re sitting there after the Xmas break, unable to move, having gorged yourself non-stop for the last week on chocolate, cheese, meat products and enough cake to sink a ship you’re inevitably thinking about eating a little healthier in the new year. Over 60% of the country go on a diet in January (though only 30% succeed) so it seems a fitting time for us to celebrate the lighter car. To choose this week’s four cars we bothered Chris Pickering, Contributing Editor of Racetech and Track Car Performance, as the track is the usual stomping ground for these lightweight cars. Here’s what I think of Chris’ choices…

We start off with two proper lightweight cars, designed to be lithe and svelte from the outset, at home on road or track. The Lotus Elise has always been a fantastic car to drive but Lotus themselves admit it has put on a few pounds over the years (haven’t we all… **sigh**) which prompted the release of this Sprint version. Adding some choice carbon parts and removing anything unnecessary means the Sprint 220 weighs a ridiculous 845kg which with 217bhp makes for one seriously quick car. Though not as quick as the next choice… What happens when you stick a Focus RS engine in a sub-600kg track car? Lots of speed, that’s what. And adrenaline. And bugs in your teeth (unless you get the optional windscreen). Sounds good eh? Well that’s thanks to new British company Elemental with their RP1 – an exotic two-seater track/fast road car that will probably embarrass anything this side of a McLaren 720S. Can’t wait to get a drive of one of these.

The final two cars are ‘normal’ cars that have been on a diet, so not really designed from the outset to be featherweight, but made lighter and importantly – better. The Golf Clubsport S is a fairly extreme example of making an ordinary car into a track weapon – they take a GTi, rip out the back seats, remove some sound deadening, stick in the Golf R engine and tune the suspension. What it results in is a seriously focused bit of kit that took the Nürburgring record for FWD cars when it was launched. They’re also super rare with only 400 made, so we’ll have to source you one that’s already built. Finally we have the Porsche 911 Carrera T – basically it’s Porsche making a pure driver’s car at the lower end of the range rather than the range-topping GT3. So it’s based on the Carrera and shares its engine, but there are shorter ratios for the manual gearbox for improved acceleration, it’s 20kg lighter and there’s a fair bit of extra spec included. If I were a betting man I’d say the T will be the best all-round mix of driving pleasure, performance, comfort and practicality in the 911 range.

So there you are – our four lightweight cars. I suggest you lighten your wallet too (sorry…) and go and get some tickets for them right now – they’re only in the lineup until the end of the week!