Naw... weekend cruiser (for the most part) here also. I will track the car occassionally, but I've learned a valuable lesson from running on open track events: "Don't track a car that you can't afford to lose." That said, my Elise will see very limited open-track events. It'll probably see a fair number of autocrosses though.
I am just trying to get a gauge on whether or not I am crazy for getting this car. I have seen it in person and sat in it but am wondering if it would be a mistake to get it if I do not take it to the track or autocross it. I am looking for a fun to drive 2nd car (1st car is a sedan I drive into the ground & wife has SUV) but I am a big guy & there is no way I am fitting into this car with anyone over 130lbs. This makes it a car for myself or myself and my wife only. No buddies to cruise with since they would be sitting in my lap. The more I think about this car the more I really think it is meant to be autocrossed or taken to the track.
Besides, I am not so sure I can expose the greatness of the car without using it these ways. I am wondering if a more subtle car like the S2000 or cars like the BMW Z4 would be a better bet.
Another concern of mine is becoming a slave to the car. I don't want to pay through the nose for servicing and deal with numerous repairs at high costs just to own a Lotus. To be honest, I could really care less about the badge or exclusivity. I just want a really fun car to haul butt and corner around curves on everyday roads. I think the S2000 is a little to tame for my taste and cars like the Corvette are just not my style. The BMW Z4 appeals to me because it is very comfortable and has plenty of torque for everyday situations (unlike the S2000) and delivers good performance (although I wish their new I6 engine was inside - the one that is going into the 630). The Porsche Boxster S would be nice as well but is to much $$$.
Just worrying like I do about most every other large purchase in my life. Man, if I could just put this much effort into my work I would be really wealthy!!! Nah, thinking about toys are more fun...
Not easy to vote for this one. I'd like the time to be 100% however the reality makes it more than 0% but less than 20%, assuming that the time is counted by engine operational hours. OK, I getting a bit too anal now, so I'll shut up
Well, then... autocross it, or take it to the track! Problem solved.
I'm at autocross events 30+ days a year. Of course some would say that this doesn't add up to a lot of driving time, but it will be a main part of using the car. I don't expect to drive it on the street a whole lot, except for an occasional weekend cruise. And of course driving to autocross events.
I am a track instructor but will still only use it at the track maybe 2-5% of the time. Weekend fun toy and commuter(through the hills, thank you).
In response to heatmeister. This car is so wonderful and so different than any other car out there(in its price range)that it makes me want one if not for any other reason to applaud what Lotus has done here(basically a euro spec car legally in the USA and with more power and a better power plant!!).
The car is such an exotic! Every time I see one I can't help but get goosebumps....
60% should be about right ... our racetrack is similar to a "country club", in where you purchase a membership, and you can come out once a week to do whatever you please. The upside being that i'm an instructor there, so we don't have to pay for memberships.
I think i'll get back into autox'ing as well. The car should be rather competitive around here, i'm sure.
I'll probably track mine about 3k miles per year, plus another 7-10k miles on the street.
But I wouldn't worry about whether you are fulfilling someone else's concept of how the car should be used. Chris (Zvedsasadah) doesn't seem to be suffering pans of remorse , and he doesn't plan to track his. If the Elise will give you more enjoyment than other choices, get it. Use the car however makes you happy.
Less than 20 percent, probably 5% max. As Julian Thomson (the designer of the S1 Elise) says, it's like having money in the bank, even if you never use it, just knowing you can makes you feel pretty damn good !
I think that your worries are unfounded. It's still going to be a fun grin inducing car. If you have other reasons for wobbling on the decision to buy this toy, that is another matter. However, if your soul concern is owning a car that belongs on a track, then wait till you drive it on a set of twisties and see how you feel.