The Solo Setup Thread for the Elise in SCCA - LotusTalk - The Lotus Cars Community
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post #1 of 256 (permalink) Old 09-14-2004, 10:19 AM Thread Starter
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Cool The Solo Setup Thread for the Elise in SCCA

This thread will contain everything we learn (or most everything) about setting up the Elise for competition use in SCCA Stock Class. If you run with modifications beyond stock class, some of this may not apply to your car.

RIGHT NOW, this thread is a work in progress.

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post #2 of 256 (permalink) Old 09-14-2004, 10:20 AM Thread Starter
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Rims

The first thing is you need to know if you are running a non-LSS car or an LSS legal car.

If you are running a non-LSS car, your wheel options may be more limited. Perhaps someone can research the available choices? You can run ther stock non-LSS rims of course, and I think you can fit the 205 series tires on them.


For an LSS car, you have the stock LSS rims as one obvious choice. They are relatively light and would work well.

Another option is the SSRs from Sector 111. They are stock LSS legal and light. There are also the Kodiaks. We understand more lightweight rim options are coming in 1Q 05.

One suggestion is that you get rid of the locking lug from Lotus and buy 4 more stock lugs, or replace all the lugs. That locking lug and its adapter tool are a pain for changing wheels as often as we do. Some of the later built cars do not have the locking lug.
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Tires

There are a few options for stock class tires.

Street tires
1. You can run your stock AD07 or A048 Yokohamas. They certainly work well on the car and may only give up a small amount to the more dedicated R compound tires. The posted tread life rating of the A048s makes it illegal for a street tire class!

2. Falken Azenis. A great street tire that is close to an R compound. And very inexpensive too. Probably close in performance to the A048s above or maybe a tick stickier. Stock legal for street tired classing. They work well, but get very greasy very easily and need water to keep cool. They can overheat halfway through your run. We are running 215/16 front and 225/17 rear.

R tires
3. Toyo RA-1. Long life, work well. Sizes are not great for the Elise.

4. Kumho V700 Victoracers. Good racing tire.

5. Kumho V710. A great tire with exceptional grip. However we are waiting for late spring 2005 for the correct sizes to be made. We may be doing some testing here, stay tuned.

6. Hoosier AS306. In the right sizes (225-17 rear and 205-16 front). Probably the most DOT legal grip for the dollar for the Elise.

Note, we are getting some small amount of rubbing with the front Hoosiers on the inside wheel liner (near the top).
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Swaybar

It is my opinion that a limiting factor of the success for the Elise is reducing or removing the rear wheel spin. An LSD option from Lotus, might be the answer. Otherwise, we can stiffen up the front bar and get some good results.

Blackwatch Racing offers a great swaybar solution that is quite a bit stiffer (if a pain in the butt to install). It is hollow, but barely and offers multiple adjustments.

I am running a softer bar from Blackwatch that is still stiffer than stock.
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Shocks

The most important thing right now is to tread carefully here. The shocks need to be SCCA legal which means the same mounting points and spring perch height. The one sticking point we have run into is that the stock shock from Lotus is very skinny, which allows them to use very skinny springs. Many off the shelf shocks are a larger diameter shock body and will not fit with the stock springs. And you can't change springs in stock class.

Koni. They have an off the shelf double-adjustable for the Elise that is also a good value.

Penske. A bit "spendy" but a good double adjustable option.

Ohlins. I think they have a stock legal option.

If you have a track package, you have the adjustable Bilsteins...which could be a nice solution.
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alignment

We are still playing with alignment. We have learned a few things and seek to learn more.

We tried maxing out negative camber in the rear and found that it was too much. Specially with the limited amount of neg camber we could get on the front.

We feel that you need to max out the neg camber on the front, which in our case turned out be less than one degree. Remove all the shims except the one that holds the ABS harness.

Than use 2-3 shims on the rear to achieve around -2 degrees. Our calculations were that each shim was worth .14 degrees in the rear.

We went with zero toe in the front and a small amount of toe in on the rear to tame some looseness. We plan on testing some other toe settings this spring.

Caster? We are at around 3.5 degrees.
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graphics

Okay, forget all those magnetic graphics you might own. They will not work on the Elise.

Temporary graphics. I recommend blue painters tape for making on-the-spot numbers and class letters. Cheesy, but it works. Some regions will require a taped on paper number. I still recommend using the blue painters tape to adhere those sheets, and make sure you tape all around. The painters tape does not leave residue, as some other tapes do. Do not use shoe polish as it sucks if it gets on the rubber/plastic trim and be messy. Many regions also will not allow it.

For permanent graphics, look into static clings. If you have only one number, look into possibly a larger "meatball" with black numbers on a white background. If you have co-drivers and require different numbers, it is best to have separate numbers on a rectangular clear static cling. If you are choosing numbers with the most flexibility, a 6 or 9 is great because it can be flipped over. If you run at any SCCA National Events, you will want a 1 also. Add in another number like a 2. And of course, you will want two of each number! Now your options are:

1, 2, 12, 21, 61, 62, 91, 92, 126, 129, 192, 196.

If your car runs in Ladies classes, than you will also need an L.

Read and understand the SCCA rules about numbers. The most important thing is legibility at a distance, not style. A lot of people go for artistic points and the numbers become hard to read across the course. The have to be 8" high and a min 1.25" wide stroke, on the side of the car. Your class letter (such as SS) must be between 25-50% of the height of the car number, but no smaller than 3" high. If your car number is 8", I recommend a 4" high class letter.

All numbers and letters must be of the same color and typeface and of very good contrast to the background color.

Storing Static Clings
You want to keep these from getting messed up. Some people use a 3 Ring Binder and keep the backing paper in there. Others place them flat in a box. Another idea is to loosely roll them and store them in a tube.

Applying Static Clings
You will want three items. A small spray bottle with water. A small squeegee tool (preferably soft plastic like a polycarbonate to not scratch your decals). A dry rag (microfiber).

Simply-

1. Wet the are to be applied on the car, or wet the back of the decal. You need to make sure all of the contact area is wet.

2. Position the decal where you want it. With it fully wet, it will be easy to slide around.

3. When properly positioned, use your squeegee device (small blade, even a credit card in a pinch) to squeeze out the excess water from the graphics.

4. Blot up and dry the water that was squeezed out.
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post #8 of 256 (permalink) Old 09-14-2004, 10:21 AM Thread Starter
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Protecting from Cones...

Protecting from Cones...
Blue Tape AKA... Modern Wedgifying your car

In Autocrossing, you eventually will hit cones. If you don't, you are missing the point of exploring the envelope of the car. There are some things to consider because of this.

Normal cones should NOT damage the fiberglass of the Elise. Anything is possible, heavy cone, hit it square on at 75mph, cold day... etc. But normally it is not a problem and I should know. There is one area of the Elise that is an exception. The license plate plinth, that rectangle of clam that protrudes on the front. A direct cone hit on that has been known to crack the clam along the bottom. I recommend reinforcing this area on the inside.

Cone marks are to remove off a waxed painted surface. Many products will work well to remove cone marks... I like Bestine myself (concourse guys cringe!). But Goof Off... or the orange stuff, bug-n-tar remover...whatever floats your boat. Probably best to rewax the area.

However, cone marks on the 3M film suck. Really suck dead bunnies up a straw. The smudge from the cone will embed into the film and will require more heavy duty solutions. One thing to keep in mind is keeping the film well waxed also. But another trick is the application of the blue painter's tape, available from Walmart or Home Depot or any place they sell painting supplies. The only stuff I like for removing the marks on Starshield film, is MEK (Methyl Ethyl Ketone). Careful with this stuff!

The areas most likely hit are first the area directly in front of the rear tires. Mostly on the passenger side. The car is wider at the back and that will catch you. Wrap the tape around bottom edge and make sure it is on the corner edges also. You might get a small mark here or there on the door, but not as likely.

The second common area is the clam in the front from the license plate mouting surface, around the front wheels. I like to wrap the front yellow plastic reflector on the wheel well also as a protection from a direct cone hit.

The other place to put tape, is across the front turn signals. They tend to pop out in case of a direct cone hit (they do on my car anyway) and a bit of tape across them should hold them in.

While I am on that subject, it is a good idea to pop out your front turn signals and using a knot, shorten the harness. The idea is that, in the possibility of your turn signal popping out, it just hangs, not drag on the ground and bang around. Use a screwdriver through the front grill to reach the plastic tab towards the front to release the turn signals. See page 143 in your owner's manual.

Another thing that seems easily damage if you go crazy and hit a lot of cones is the engine ducts on the bottom of the car. Cones will shear them off and you will find the duct laying somewhere back on the course. The ducts are cheap, but some preventative measures could stop this... like some adhesive or again, blue tape on the leading edges of the exposed duct bits. I pushed all my ducts backwards as far as they go and then globbed on some RTV to help hold them in place.

One other place to be aware of. Sometimes a cone can get stuck between the front tire and the mudflap behind it. Be careful about pulling on the cones. The mudflap attachments are really not designed for this...nor direct cone hits. They use these little screws in expandable rubber bushings to fill a hole in the fiberglass. After some experimentation, I find it best to just use an RTV or silicone cement to attach the mudflaps to the clam. The small screws are not enough for cones.
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post #9 of 256 (permalink) Old 09-14-2004, 10:22 AM Thread Starter
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Pics of the Blue Tape

First is the spartan blue tape (my car) and marks still showing.

<img src="http://www.elisetalk.com/forums/attachment.php?attachmentid=6136&stc=1">

Next is the Rententive Owner's example.

<img src="http://www.elisetalk.com/forums/attachment.php?attachmentid=6135&stc=1">


Note, she was right. It is a lost faster to tape up and remove tape, than to remove the marks from the Starshield.
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post #10 of 256 (permalink) Old 09-14-2004, 10:22 AM Thread Starter
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safety equip stuff and what you wear.

If your helmet does not stick up past the top of the body of the car, you can run a harness or upper body restraint. To do so, will probably require a harness bar. Blackwatch Racing offers a nice harness bar with a built in optional camera mount. Sector 111 sells a 4Tress bar. And Lotus Sport has their own bar too.


Your other option is to use the CG-Lock that Blackwatch sells. It cinches you down into the seat. Note: you are not allowed to remove the stock seatbelts.

Your helmet needs to be SNELL M or SA rated and at least 1995.

Full face or open face? Depends on what else you might want to do and personal preference. I have both. I like open faced personally for autocross because I think the probability of needed facial protection is less at an autocross, than it is driving to the grocery store... and I don't wear a helmet driving to the store. An open face is lighter, better ventilation, easier to drink water with it on, and allows me to talk to other people easier. A full face helmet is required for certain high speed tracks. Maybe. And I use it for karting, though in karting you can use an open face as long as you have eye protection. Another point is for contact wearers. You may find the wind a problem with an open faced helmet and might want a closed face for that reason.

Gloves. Personal preference. I don't like gloves on for autocross. They are not required.

Shoes. You want a thinner shoe with a thinner sole for good pedal feel. That can be wrestling or indoor soccer shoes. I also like the rounded heel shoes like the Pilotis or Puma Cats. Some people swear by Chuck Connor shoes.

Clothing. In a high speed event, you will often see a requirement for long sleeved shirts and full pants. In autocrossing, that is not required and often I will wear a t-shirt and soccer shorts.
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post #11 of 256 (permalink) Old 09-14-2004, 10:24 AM Thread Starter
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Support stuff

These are the items I think are important for us. YMMV!

Air Gauge. A good gauge, not a pencil type. One with a bleed valve is worth having. Some people like digital. I like old school analog.

Air compressor. Proper pressure is critical. I highly recommend the compressors that use a battery and you recharge. Much better than the ones you plug into a cigarette lighter. Another option is an air tank if you have the room to haul one.

Water sprayer. If you run R tires, thermal management is important. Overheated tires are slippery and also will reduce tire life.

Tire Bags/Warmers. Blackwatch sells these. Important if you are serious about winning and it is cold out. Important if you need to transport tires inside the car and want to keep your interior clean.

Sunscreen, Hat, Sunglasses, Liquids. Take care of the driver!

My Checklist for out-of-town events-
National Out of Town Autocross Event List
1. Factory Manuals
2. SCCA Rule Book
3. SCCA License, registration (if applicable)
4. Water bottle for grid
5. Hat
6. Rain gear, umbrella
7. Air Gauge for tires
8. Air Bottle or compressor
9. Jack, lug wrench, wood block
10. Sunscreen
11. Racing shoes, extra socks in case of rain
12. Video stuff
13. Wallet, drivers license, money, credit cards
14. Stickers/numbers/graphics
15. Helmet
16. Windex, rags, towels, dust brush, chamois
17. Oil, Fluids, Rain-X
18. Autox notebook and paper
19. Pens/pencil/sharpie
20. Digital Camera, batteries
21. Small cooler and beverages, lots of water/iced tea (beer for post event celebration of class domination) 8-P
22. Mechanics Gloves (for moving tires, cleaning debris off tires, or shagging cones)
23. Sunglasses (extra pair is good)
24. Cell Phone (charger)
25. Spare trash bag, a couple Ziplock bags (for wet stuff)
26. Books, stuff to read or work on
27. Hand Cleaner (wipes)
28. Lug nut adapters. Jack. Torque wrench. 17mm socket.
29. Tires/rims
30. Tools, baling wire, duct tape. 8mm wrench for diffuser.
32. Extra emergency parts like brake pads, etc
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post #12 of 256 (permalink) Old 09-18-2004, 04:48 PM Thread Starter
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Exhaust options

There is little documented support than an aftermarket exhaust will make you have more power. But they do sound better and are normally lighter. And losing weight there is a good thing.

There are a number of options here. Stage 2 from Lotus (not stock legal), Larini, Quicksilver, 2Bular.

None of this is that big of a deal for autocross, the stock exhaust will work well for 99% of the drivers. But when you win and lose by less than 1/10th of a second, you might start thinking about that 11 pounds of exhaust weight.

#somethingwickedthiswaycomes... the new Origin Noble M and the Origin 7

Zenos E10S for Sale! www.zenosforsale.com

There are some very shady dealers in the Lotus business.

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post #13 of 256 (permalink) Old 12-14-2004, 09:13 PM
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How much gas are you leaving in the tank when you compete? It seems to be different for each make/model. Any starvation problems with low/ almost nothing registering on the gas gauge? I would suspect not but thought I would ask the question anyway.
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I have run with different amounts, all the way down to one bar. I have experienced no starvation effects.

The fuel pickup is behind the driver, so the problem happens more on sustained left hand sweepers. Most autocrossers will run at least 3 bars of gas.

#somethingwickedthiswaycomes... the new Origin Noble M and the Origin 7

Zenos E10S for Sale! www.zenosforsale.com

There are some very shady dealers in the Lotus business.

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So in a nutshell, what can you do in Stock Class in SCCA?

You can do anything to the car, that could have come from the factory in that configuration. You can not mix and match. The basic question to ask yourself is, could I have bought the car from the factory like this? Was it offered?

As an example, Lotus did not offer a car with Sport Package (LSS) rims and non-sport springs.

In addition to that, you can make these changes-

1. You can add different driver restraints. You must keep the stock belt in the car. If you use upper body restraints, your helmeted head must not stick up above the roof line.

2. Comfort and convenience. As long as you did not reduce weight or increase performance. You can change your stereo, speakers. Add gauges. Accessories. Paint. Interior materials.

3. You can add rollbars that meet SCCA specs.

4. Towing stuff. Adding a hitch.

5. Remove anything not permanently fastened down. This would include the soft top. This would not include I think the carpeting.

6. Different wheels within +/- 1/4" offset. Must be same diameter and width. You can also use spacers, as long as the wheels and spacers combined are within the +/- 1/4" offset spec.

7. DOT legal tires or OEM tires. Any diameter or width that fits. Must not have cord showing, must have visible tread at two points. Must be approved by SCCA. You can not use full racing slicks.

8. Replace shock with any that use the same attachment points, up to 2 adjustments, can use external reservoirs. Bushings are free. Adjustable spring perches must be locked in stock position.

9. Change shims to change camber. You can not remove the shim that holds the ABS connector.

10. Front anti-sway bar change is free, as are mounting brackets, bushings, and endlinks for the same bar.

11. Alignment. Anything that is possible through adjustment.

12. Any brake pad may be used.

13. Any spark plug, ignition wires, coils.

14. Battery may be replaced with same type.

15. Any air filter element (no other change to intake).

16. Any exhaust after catalytic converter.

17. Any fluids. Any oil or gas filter. Any thermostat.


Beyond this, the basic rule is that, if it does not say you can, you can't A lot of these things will get overlooked on the local level.
6TVRs+ likes this.

#somethingwickedthiswaycomes... the new Origin Noble M and the Origin 7

Zenos E10S for Sale! www.zenosforsale.com

There are some very shady dealers in the Lotus business.

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post #16 of 256 (permalink) Old 02-20-2005, 11:01 PM Thread Starter
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Quick overview of Street Prepared rules for the Elise

The Elise runs in ASP in Street Prepared.

You can do all the stuff you could do above in the Stock Class rules and also some more:

1. Remove A/C.

2. You can add a wing (there is a max size). Spoilers. Splitters. Body trim can be removed.

3. Open up fenders for larger tires.

4. Fuel cell (must be +/-20% of original capacity and within 6" of stock location)

5. Change foot pedals.

6. Change seats, must be uphostered and padded.

7. Any steering wheel.

8. Any rim. You can change wheel studs or bolts.

9. Fully adjustable spring perches.

10. Change/remove bump stops.

11. Coil overs. Replace springs.

12. Use of shims or removal of metal to change alignments.

13. ANY swaybar (add rear)

14. Replace bushings, must be non-metallic.

15. Camber kits okay.

16. Any DOT brake line. Any single dual circuit master cylinder.

17. Air cooling ducts

18. Any battery, any location of battery.

19. Any ignition setting.

20. Any fuel injection.

21. Intake / exhaust port matching within 1" from opening.

22. Accusump. Oil coolers. Change oil pan.

23. Remove smog devices.

24. Alternate fuel lines up to 1/2" dia.

25. Headers. Manifolds.

26. Balance rotating parts, overbore to 0.0472". Cylinder heads milled up to 0.010". Change engine fan, shroud.

27. Alternate ECU.

28. Water injection.

29. Clutch. SHift linkage. LSD. Tranny cooler. Drive shafts. Short shift kits.

(THIS IS NOT A FULL LIST... just a general overview!!! READ THE RULEBOOK, do research)

#somethingwickedthiswaycomes... the new Origin Noble M and the Origin 7

Zenos E10S for Sale! www.zenosforsale.com

There are some very shady dealers in the Lotus business.

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What about Street Mod 2?

Here is what you can do to the car in SM2:

1. Add weight.

TBD

#somethingwickedthiswaycomes... the new Origin Noble M and the Origin 7

Zenos E10S for Sale! www.zenosforsale.com

There are some very shady dealers in the Lotus business.

2005 Lotus Elise, 1993 MR2, 1995 MR2, 125cc Shifter Kart, Toniq (in build), 2018 Origin 7 (waiting), 2018 Origin Noble M (waiting)
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post #18 of 256 (permalink) Old 02-20-2005, 11:02 PM Thread Starter
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What about the Prepared Class in Solo?

You have a min weight issue of 1900 pounds. More if you use wider rims.

See my thread of preparing the car for F Prepared in this forum. There is a lot to be done.

Mainly upgrading to different rims. Running Goodyear slicks. Penske shocks. BWR swaybar. Different cams. ECU change. Springs. Lowering.

#somethingwickedthiswaycomes... the new Origin Noble M and the Origin 7

Zenos E10S for Sale! www.zenosforsale.com

There are some very shady dealers in the Lotus business.

2005 Lotus Elise, 1993 MR2, 1995 MR2, 125cc Shifter Kart, Toniq (in build), 2018 Origin 7 (waiting), 2018 Origin Noble M (waiting)
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Is there a Street Tired Class for the Elise

At this point no, but locally there may be. For example, the Elise runs in SK1 in Los Angeles region. Local regions may set their own rules, so you would need to investigate that.

#somethingwickedthiswaycomes... the new Origin Noble M and the Origin 7

Zenos E10S for Sale! www.zenosforsale.com

There are some very shady dealers in the Lotus business.

2005 Lotus Elise, 1993 MR2, 1995 MR2, 125cc Shifter Kart, Toniq (in build), 2018 Origin 7 (waiting), 2018 Origin Noble M (waiting)
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post #20 of 256 (permalink) Old 02-21-2005, 07:45 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Randy Chase
The Stage 2 Sport Exhaust is a lightweight option, but it requires modifying the diffuser opening and that is SCCA stock class illegal. Otherwise it looks like a good option.
Were Lotus to produce one car with Stage 2 pre-installed, wouldn't that change the situation? If SCCA isn't going to be flexible, how about Lotus? Or is there another problem? IIRC, does the stage 2 come with a label not recommending it for street use? Or is it flat out "for track use only?"
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