When the Lotus Type 82 Esprit Turbo was introduced in April 1981 it had a new chassis which was built to accommodate a V8 or the hitherto ubiquitous 4 cylinder type 907/910 motors. It was not until two complete body restyles later that the V8 type 918 would finally see the light of day in the back of a Julian Thompson styled Esprit in 1996.
The Julian Thompson styled Esprit replaced the Peter Stevenson styled Esprit in 1993 alongside the new body came a redesigned interior and for the first time on an Esprit power steering.
The twin turbocharged all aluminium 918 V8 Esprits were restricted to 350 hp which was deemed the most that the Renault derived transmission and drive train could handle. In 1998 V8 Esprits were built to either luxury SE or sporty GT specification.
The ultimate incarnation of the Esprit was the Sport 350, such as the one seen here during last years Classic and Sports Car Action Day at Castle Combe. These models were built with AP racing brakes, stiffer suspension, revised electronic control unit (ECU) for the motor and a carbon fibre rear wing mounted on aluminium uprights. With 350 hp these cars can reach 100 mph from rest in just under 10 seconds.
Only 55 of an intended production run of 50 Esprit Sport 350’s were built between 1999 and 2001, all bar 48 of them were painted silver, four were black, two white and one ice blue.
Rob the owner of Sport 350 No.26, also known as Project Sport 500, has upgraded this particular vehicle to produce 500 hp and “run right past 60 mph in (the) first of it’s six gears”. You can see some of the work Rob has undertaken to achieve this performance on this linked page.
Only 15 Sport 350’s remain in the UK according to Rob one of them is a right off in a salvage yard.
My thanks to Rob for his help with today’s post.
Thanks for joining me on this “Project Sport 500” edition of “Gettin’ a li’l psycho on tyres”, I hope you will join me again tomorrow. Don’t forget to come back now !