Had the opportunity to drive a Zenos E10S at the track this past Monday - LotusTalk - The Lotus Cars Community
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post #1 of 8 (permalink) Old 05-18-2016, 05:12 PM Thread Starter
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Had the opportunity to drive a Zenos E10S at the track this past Monday

As one of the lead instructors for several car clubs I have the chance to drive a lot of interesting machines at the track. This past weekend my friends at | Gator Motorsport| Gator Motorsport provided the chance to try something new, an entry level E10S, base brakes, base suspension, base motor. Needless to say I was anxious to give it a try as the car has had my attention since I first heard about the concept a couple years ago. It wasnít my car to romp on and as such I drove it well within its limits during some spirited touring laps and while Iím sure there are far more professional reviews of the car I thought I would share some amateur thoughts compared to the Lotus for you to take or leave as you see fit.

Pulling the car out from the where it was parked I was surprised by how light the steering felt, I worried how that might play out on the track at speed. Turned out that it was not an issue at all, steering input felt great although I would have liked a bit less body roll at turn-in as the suspension set and the car initiated the turn. (This coming from a guy driving an Exige S with Sector's firm springs on Nitrons) That said, the base suspension is probably ideal for someone looking for a set-up that can handle the abuse of public streets.

I was surprised by how hard the car pulled given it had the base motor. I suppose shedding 500 pounds from the weight of an Exige and adding 30 hp will help achieve some impressive results. Oh, and that turbo torque! Yes, I know thereís a camp that is always looking for more horsepower but I would suggest that the base motor is enough to put a smile on the face of even the most hardcore of track rats.

As I try to think back to describe the exhaust note Iím left scratching my head. Anything happening with the sound of the air exiting the engine was dwarfed by the sound of air being sucked into the intake right behind you. And forget about masking anything youíre doing with the accelerator as you throttle steer through a carousel, the blow-off valve is equally loud and sounded to be right behind my head. It was wonderful!

At first I wanted a bit more initial bite from the brakes as they required substantially more pedal pressure (again, point of reference being an Exige with XP12ís up front & 10ís in the rear) however I quickly grew to like the ability to modulate braking. The pedal was very firm with little movement as opposed to the Lotus that has a bit more travel as you apply more pressure. Given the lack of ABS, modulating the brakes becomes all the more important.
Last thought on the brakes is that I found it a bit more challenging to heel toe as the brake pedal was deeper in the footwell than the throttle and therefor actually required more rotation of the right foot compared to the Lotus which is just an easy roll of the foot to get to the throttle. Absolutely was doable, just not quite as effortless as the Lotus, I have no idea if the pedals are adjustable.

The concept of multiple body panels (I think I was told 12?) is also appealing for those of us playing at the track.

Getting back to my car for the next session the Exige feltÖ Substantial is first word that comes to mind. Iíve never even considered describing the Lotus that way but suddenly all the interior aluminum and nicer plastic bits made the car feel more luxurious. It felt heavier. It didnít pull quite as hard as I remembered. The best way I can describe the feeling of the Zenos to you, remember the first time you drove your Lotus after a lifetime of mass produced large volume vehicles?... Remember wondering how this impractical car, so small and light and quick and quirky could be street legal? Remember what a huge leap it was from your Audi or BMW or whatever it was? After 8 years of rocking an Exige S the Zenos provided that same feeling, moving to something even more basic, raw, impractical and purpose built. The folks over at Zenos have taken so many of the qualities that drew me to Lotus years ago and created a machine thatís gone even further. Youíll have to decide for yourself if that means that you absolutely have to have one or could not possibly live with it.

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post #2 of 8 (permalink) Old 05-18-2016, 06:54 PM
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Here's Ken touring it around the track like it's a pleasant Sunday drive.

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post #3 of 8 (permalink) Old 05-19-2016, 09:40 AM
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Very cool. I love the really cut-down design of these types of cars - the Atom, X-Bow, 340R, even the Polaris Slingshot. Yet somehow the 7 and Caterham cars, much as I respect them, don't really light my fire. They also seem like such widowmakers when they get really fast.

My long-term plan when I bought my Elise a couple months ago is that it'll hold or gain its value over the next 5-10 years and the Zenos'll depreciate and I'll switch to one then. We'll see! The base motor would be plenty as it would primarily be a street car, one or two HPDEs a year maybe. I did sit in one a few months ago and it felt good; I hope to get a chance to drive one at some point and see if it is what I'm hoping it is.

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post #4 of 8 (permalink) Old 06-27-2016, 07:05 AM
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Nice write-up KenRK! I also got the chance to drive a track session in a Zenos. This was a friends E10s and I would echo pretty much everything you said.

The 250hp turbo motor in this car is plenty to have TONS of fun on the track. Throttle steer in tighter corners was super fun and easy. The turbo intake/wastegate noises are totally intoxicating. I do still think the brakes need more bite. Some more aggressive pads (Carbotechs) would help a lot! The brakes just did not inspire confidence at track speeds and require too much force to get comfortable on the H&T. Also, like the Elige, some more rubber up front and additional camber would help too. The spring rates felt really soft to me as well, like a street car. Again, this feel was almost like a stock Elise suspension and did not feel nearly as precise as my Elise on Nitrons.

I did struggle a little for elbow room. There is no problem with a tall or big person fitting in this car, I am 6'4". There is a lot more room than an Elige, but the longer throws in the gear shift had my elbow hitting on the console or seat edge until I adapted a little. Overall, an awesome car.

Here is a some footage of a few laps:
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post #5 of 8 (permalink) Old 08-02-2016, 12:40 PM
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i've been lucky enough to take delivery of the first customer E10R a couple months ago. Its the drive edition so the black with yellow detail stickers.

I ran a 211 for nearly three years (a sport 190 s2 before that) and can offer a reasonable comparison between the two.

Firstly its fast... proper fast. i guess 350hp in 1500 lbs will never exactly be a slouch. The extra 300 cc gives the car much more shove prior to the turbo and makes it much easier to manage the boost when it arrives. the noise is akin to a jetfighter (4" from your head) but tires on long journies (i bailed after 2 hours and bought some earplugs). traction is amazing considering lack of weight and power going through. The e10R has a revised shortshift - this cures the grumbles on banging elbows. shifts are bolt action like and precise. i had a letsla and engine inserts on my 211 and zenos is better.
on the straight a 211 wont know which way the zenos has gone.

I agree with the brakes however mine have been fitted with a revised setup. Prior to this they needed lots of force and felt wooden and hard to trust. the new setup isnt just new pads... new master cylinders, new pedalbox and revised brake bias. the changes transform the feeling and now trailbraking is not only easy but fun... you can play with the car on corner entry that simply wasnt possible with mk1 brakes.
That being said, one of the strongest elementsof the 211 were the brakes... there wasnt anything other then serious aero cars could touch it under braking. Its a tough call but if you are going for out and out laptime the 211 abs was almost perfect. its hard for an unassisted non-abs to perform to that level but they are still strong.

interior much nicer place to be and less 'snug' with passengers.lcd displays work great. i got the heated screen which makes travelling much easier (and balances the look of the car) however its a 20-30 minute job to pop it off when you want to play on track. also got the 'get you home hood' which actually does keep ypu pretty dry (except one arm). Fitting it is not hard (and not a caterham pop stud in sight) - just slide into a grove on the windscreen and clip over the roll bars.
i use mine as a daily driver and so also got the heated carbon seats - what a simple but effective solution.
easier to get in and out as you dont have the roll bar brace to climb over as on the 211.

if i had to compare to the 211... well as a pure track car i would say it would perhaps edge the e10R in places where it cant really use its 500hp/ton advantage. the 211 has proper aero and stronger brakes which would carry more speed in the corners.
however the e10r is considerably better as an all round car. you can use it every day, its not as much hard work and on track it may be tenths slower but you will have to work the car harder... personally i would rather be slower and have a rewarding drive. Dont get me wrong, i loved my 211 but oddly I never really missed it when it moved on.

i will update with some piccies when i get home
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post #6 of 8 (permalink) Old 09-01-2016, 05:08 AM
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Sorry been manic but some piccies. It's not a garage queen so a bit muddy. And was in a rush so camera work in not A*.

Get you home hood in place (surprisingly effective)


Access with roof on


Bit spartan up front


Inside


In the back


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post #7 of 8 (permalink) Old 09-01-2016, 06:29 AM
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Very nice!

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post #8 of 8 (permalink) Old 09-01-2016, 08:03 AM
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Very cool cars, I couldn't imagine using one as a daily driver, but nicely done!

I love the track video. They definitely get around the track well. Looks like a blast!
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