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Discussion Starter · #1 · (Edited)
I took my Evora GT to the track for the first time on Monday. What a car. I get it now.

Here are some of my thoughts. I’ve been tracking a BMW F82 M4 Competition for a few years prior, and I’m an intermediate/casual HPDE driver.
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Amazing amounts of lateral grip. I was very careful with the car at the beginning of the day as I didn’t know what to expect, and I think I worked up to about 7/10 by day’s end. The combination of Sport Cup 2 tires, suspension, and mild aero were incredible, and I was cornering harder than I ever could on the M4, yet the tires had still more grip to deliver. I need more days on the track to really find this car’s limits.

With some experimentation throughout the day, I found the Cup 2s really wanted to be at around 32–35 PSI (2.2–2.4 Bar) for best grip. This yielded an even temperature spread of around 115° F (46° C) across the tire surface (it was a cool day, around 65° F or 18° C—hotter days will surely yield higher tire temps). The tires precipitously lost traction at pressures higher than 35 PSI.

Cold tires have no grip. This one may be obvious, but we started the day at around 45° F (7.2° C) and the tires had almost no grip. ABS kicked in at 30% brake application. Good thing I took it easy! Things got much better as the day warmed up.

The suspension is incredible. I don’t know how the folks at Hethel did it, but this car’s suspension was superb. Quick turn-ins yielded progressive and firm loading on the outside. Curb bumps and driver-generated upsets were handled easily. The car followed crests and dips without losing grip or bottoming out. And best of all, it was comfortable enough to drive home at the end of the day without adjustment. It’s pure magic.

There is an increased tendency to pitch. I think this is an issue with mid-engined cars in general, but I suppose a lower yaw moment of inertia also means a lower pitch moment of inertia. The car rewarded smooth throttle applications and smooth release of the brakes into cornering. Stabbing the throttle or popping off the brakes caused the nose to rise quite suddenly.

One interesting consequence of this was a reduced ability to upshift during corner exit. Stepping on the clutch pitched the car forward more than I expected, and reengaging the clutch after the shift caused the opposite to happen. This pitching moment caused an upset that disturbed the exit line. One would be well-advised to choose the right gear before entering a turn, and stick with it through the exit.

Braking over a crest is hard. Thunderhill has several turns where one has to apply brakes over a crest (Turns 3 and 10 in particular), and I found it more difficult to do that on the Evora than on the M4. With the BMW, the front-end engine weight kept the nose down while braking over a crest, but with the Evora, the front end tended to stay aloft over the crest, yielding reduced braking power. I wasn’t able to solve the problem by day’s end, and I awkwardly ended up braking before the crest and long-trail-braking into the turn. Surely there’s a better way to do this that I have yet to find, perhaps by modulating the brakes more as the car covered the crest.

Sparco seats are comfortable. The Sparco alcantara/leather seat that came with my Evora was very comfortable. It held me in place quite well, and my back and shoulders did not ache like they did with the M4 and its slippery leather seats. For pure track use, you would probably choose a more bolstered seat, but for mixed street/track use, the standard seats worked great. I still found it difficult to find a good bracing point for my left leg on right turns, but it was not nearly as bad as my difficulties with staying put in the M4. I ended the day with my torso feeling better than it ever did after a day of tracking the M4.

The torque curve is surprisingly wide. I was able to stay in 4th gear through most of the course in Thunderhill, shifting down to 3rd only at turn 11 and back up to 4th at the exit of turn 13 (see difficulty with upshifting at turn exit above). The wide torque curve meant I could enter the off-camber Turn 3 in 4th gear instead of having to brake and downshift to 3rd over a crest on entry like I did on the M4. Staying in 4th for most of the course made the experience a lot more relaxing and enjoyable.

Compared to the twin-turbo M4, the Evora’s supercharged power delivery was smooth and predictable. The M4 had a nasty tendency to deliver a surge of turbo torque at turn exit, sometimes breaking the rear end loose, thus forcing me to think about first- (or was it second-?) order derivatives of the relationship between throttle, boost, and power. No such mental math was needed with the Evora.

Straight line acceleration is good, but not great. This was a balanced car, but it felt decidedly biased toward handling. A higher-powered muscle car would have out-accelerated the Evora in the straights, but the Evora could probably maintain higher cornering speeds. I wish we had access to the 430 variant in the US. A bump in horsepower—or more importantly, torque—would be welcome.

So there you have it. I’m very happy I own this car. I get it now. This level of performance at this price point is remarkable. And having a car that looks this good, works this well as a grocery-getter, yet rewards you so much for pushing it to the limit at the track, is really something special.
 

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I love THill in the Evora, 2015 NA here. I have same observation on tire pressures, lateral grip, and braking while unloaded (brake/apex early and run corner out wide). If you get the chance, run the cyclone option and the cornering feels even better.
 

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Awesome write up - glad you had fun, and are out there learning the car!!

My comments below are from my experience tracking my Exige. I haven't had the GT out yet.. but it's mid-engine commentary..

Also - I'm no track expert, just a hobbiest, these are just comments, and I'm very open to being critiqued.

Cold tires have no grip. This one may be obvious, but we started the day at around 45° F (7.2° C) and the tires had almost no grip. ABS kicked in at 30% brake application. Good thing I took it easy! Things got much better as the day warmed up.
THANK YOU!!! take it easy when it's cold! so many people mess that up.

One interesting consequence of this was a reduced ability to upshift during corner exit. Stepping on the clutch pitched the car forward more than I expected, and reengaging the clutch after the shift caused the opposite to happen. This pitching moment caused an upset that disturbed the exit line. One would be well-advised to choose the right gear before entering a turn, and stick with it through the exit.
Agreed. Knowing the track and where you'll be, speed wise, at exit is important. Heel/toe and smooth inputs is key. At Sonoma, I once spun turn 2 for this reason. Getting in the gear ahead of the turn in can vastly improve the smooth apex and exit.


Braking over a crest is hard. Thunderhill has several turns where one has to apply brakes over a crest (Turns 3 and 10 in particular), and I found it more difficult to do that on the Evora than on the M4. With the BMW, the front-end engine weight kept the nose down while braking over a crest, but with the Evora, the front end tended to stay aloft over the crest, yielding reduced braking power. I wasn’t able to solve the problem by day’s end, and I awkwardly ended up braking before the crest and long-trail-braking into the turn. Surely there’s a better way to do this that I have yet to find, perhaps by modulating the brakes more as the car covered the crest.
Yup - but you can use this to your advantage as well. you know hitting the brakes will slam the font of the car down, and lighten the rear... so plan for it. Use the geography of the track, and dynamics of your car to add traction and stopping power to your cresting. Brake later, harder, at the top of the crest.

Straight line acceleration is good, but not great. This was a balanced car, but it felt decidedly biased toward handling. A higher-powered muscle car would have out-accelerated the Evora in the straights, but the Evora could probably maintain higher cornering speeds. I wish we had access to the 430 variant in the US. A bump in horsepower—or more importantly, torque—would be welcome.
Yeah, top speed has never been great in Lotus cars. But that's not where the fun is anyway... at least to me.

Will you be at Laguna with GGLC in Feb?
 

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Discussion Starter · #7 ·
Yup - but you can use this to your advantage as well. you know hitting the brakes will slam the font of the car down, and lighten the rear... so plan for it. Use the geography of the track, and dynamics of your car to add traction and stopping power to your cresting. Brake later, harder, at the top of the crest.
I need to practice this more!

Will you be at Laguna with GGLC in Feb?
Ooh, I haven’t signed up. Do you have the link?
 

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[There is an increased tendency to pitch. I think this is an issue with mid-engined cars in general, but I suppose a lower yaw moment of inertia also means a lower pitch moment of inertia. The car rewarded smooth throttle applications and smooth release of the brakes into cornering. Stabbing the throttle or popping off the brakes caused the nose to rise quite suddenly.
This is common on all of the Evora; there are several reasons. The biggest is that the car is sprung quite soft for the mount of grip it makes and amount of pace a good driver can carry. This compliance is the key source of the great ride, but results in a lot of chassis movement. You can slow it down with a lot of low speed compression in your shocks. That change makes transitions a lot quicker, but has a noticeable compromise in ride. The second reason is that the suspension has very little anti-squat and no anti-dive. If you put race tires on, you'll hit the bump stops so hard on brake application that you get big understeer. You'd only want to change these things if you were chasing a clock.

donour
 

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This is common on all of the Evora; there are several reasons. The biggest is that the car is sprung quite soft for the mount of grip it makes and amount of pace a good driver can carry. This compliance is the key source of the great ride, but results in a lot of chassis movement. You can slow it down with a lot of low speed compression in your shocks. That change makes transitions a lot quicker, but has a noticeable compromise in ride. The second reason is that the suspension has very little anti-squat and no anti-dive. If you put race tires on, you'll hit the bump stops so hard on brake application that you get big understeer. You'd only want to change these things if you were chasing a clock.

donour
Agree, to some extent this is just Lotus tuning/limitation of a non-active and basic shock. Happens somewhat with the Elise too even at higher spring rates unless you got higher end race shocks. You really have to pay attention to the amount of weight on each wheel when driving hard.
 

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Ooh, I haven’t signed up. Do you have the link?
 

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@drahardja.....Great feedback, love the detail. Only been the TH on race bikes before I got into cars. As for the M4/Evora comparisons....yes the BMW seats look good but they suck at being track seats. As for the "The M4 had a nasty tendency to deliver a surge of turbo torque at turn exit" that is very true since its power plant makes so much torque down low. I used to find myself at the track here carrying 1 gear higher and letting the torque do the work but then I installed a BM3 flash tune with torque limitation by gear and that fixed the issue buy limiting 1-3rd. What year is your Evora...... such a beautiful car in orange (y)
 

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Discussion Starter · #13 ·
I’m on the waitlist. Let’s see!
 
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