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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Please help me out or send in the correct direction. I am thinking of an Elise (or Exige) as a track day/HPDE car. I am in typically in advance/instructor groups here in Dallas, TX.

Besides the fiberglass clamshells, are there any motor weaknesses? Suspension issues? ????? That I need to pay attention to. For example, I know a lot of motors like LS, Boxster/Cayman, even S2000 under high G loading can be damaged. Same for Elise/Exige?

LSD/no LSD? I remember reading a thread years ago and it seems it is down to driver preference. Is this still the case?

Can the cars be tracked basically stock or there are some definite mods that are needed? (For example, the S2000 basically needs a good rear wing. It transformed the car).

I have only been a passenger in an Elise as an instructor in the Novice group, so don't really know the capabilities of the car. I am deciding between this (low hp, mid engine) and C5Z06 (high hp/tq). All of my previous track cars (Type R, S2000, Miata, TSX=>yeah I know, but we all have weak moments in our life, lol,) have all been 4 cyl. That is why the Vette is appealing.

Any other info will be great, thanks.
 

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Replace/upgrade the rear toe links as they have had a tendency to fail under load and be sure to add a baffled oil pan to help eliminate oil starvation on hard long turns. Other than that a stock Lotus is a blast on the track! BUT, the upgrade bug usually hits for a supercharger, better brakes, suspention upgrades, and aero! They are however born to be at their best on a track! Have fun!!!
 

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The Elise is a great track car right out of the box. I have a set of track tires and track brake pads, but otherwise my car is stock. The only issue I have had is the high-RPM cam lobe getting pitted, apparently a common defect from Toyota. I road raced SCCA and NASA for many years, and the Elise was the closest thing to a street-legal race car I could find.
 

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If you want supercharged power, it might be easier to go with an exige. Otherwise, toe links, better brake pads, better battery solution or tie down and you should be good to go,
 

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Depends how much you want to do and how much insurance you're willing to buy. Seems like most folks who do this go for the baffled oil pan, upgraded rear toe link, and make sure the battery doesn't come loose. Remember, this isn't a completely engineered road car. I imagine Lotus put in less than 5% of engineering hours into the Elise as Mazda did into the Miata, so once you start poking around some reliability and safety things become obvious.

Having said that, there are also plenty of cars around that i see that are driven once or twice a year on a track at a nice, rapid clip with no obvious ill-effects.

Lots of folks supercharge their cars or get the SC Exige, but there is a second school of thought that a NA car, in an Elise, without the extra 150 lbs of the Exige and the heat sink issues of a SC is just as fun, and often just as fast around a track.
 

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Re-read your post and will also add I can't think of two more different track day street cars than the Elsie and the Vette, so it's really more about how you like to drive and what gets you going than anything else.

With the Elise you will not get any kind of torque rush powering out of a turn. What you will get is a car that you can rotate and scoot with brakes that you can use much later than on a Vette. You have no electronic nannies and a car that will snap around if you do something dumb-- been there, done that.

A Vette is a Vette, lots of power, lots of grip, lots of weight.
 

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Discussion Starter · #7 ·
Does the 06+ Track Pack have updated toe links?

I realize the Elise is just slight better than a kit car. Are the common issues windows not working? trim pieces falling off? etc.? But not major engine, transmission or suspension issues, correct?

The only reason I am going for an Elise or Vette is to learn a different style of car. My S2000 was hooked up great and FUN and FAST. But, I want to learn something different which is either mid-engine or high hp/tq.
 

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All things being equal, IMO, an Elise will be faster than an S2000, both in relatively stock trim.

Things don't tend to fall off an Elise, it's a tough little car and simple enough. Expensive to fix the front and rear clams if they get broken.

My point about an SC car is there are more things to go wrong and more heat to foul things up. You will likely find that a normally aspirated car is pretty bulletproof. This is just anecdotal of course but I've put maybe 25 track days on mine in the past two years, driving to and from the track up to 130 miles, and the only failure I've had is a thermostat stuck open. It's been the only thing that has broken on the car in the 5 years I've had it. Reading many posts here over the years, I don't think that this is uncommon.

I also think you won't get a consensus that the Elise/Exige is one step over a kit car. What it has is an absence of passenger compartment finishing and sound deadening, and an obvious parts-bin approach to all the secondary controls. Where people get mad and disappointed is thinking it is an every-day car-- it's not. All the compromises have been to take out weight and make it affordable, and it shows in every day usage.

There hasn't been a track day with the Porsche or BMW folks where I haven't had a small crowd of people who want to sit in it or ask me about it. It's just plain fun.
 

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Discussion Starter · #9 ·
I apologize, that kit car remark upon re-reading comes across condescending.

I like (really like) the bare bones aspect of the Elise. This is a track car/second car. If I wanted a nice interior, I would look into a P-car.
 
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