Lotus has unveiled two unique models to commemorate the British brand’s 70th birthday.

The Exige Type 49 and 79 pack phenomenal performance into one of the all-time great chassis designs.

Based on the wildest ever incarnation of the Exige the Cup 430, the Type 49 and 79 set the fastest lap time for a road car around Lotus’ hallowed Hethel test track, covering the 2.2 miles in just 1 minute 24.8 seconds.

Employing a supercharger and chargecooler designed specifically for the potent engine, both the Exige Type 49 and 79 possess 320kW at 7000 rpm and 440Nm of torque from 4000 rpm.

The dash from 0-100km/h takes 3.3 seconds, with a top speed of 290 km/h.

In keeping with its mantra of performance through lightweight, the Type 49 and 79 weight in at just 1056kg in their lightest configuration, with a power to weight of 303kW/tonne.

In addition to reducing the weight, the carbon composite body panels also deliver the cars’ distinctive styling and aerodynamic set up.

The high-gloss visible weave components include the front splitter, front clam, air blades, unique bargeboards, roof panel, rear tailgate, straight-cut wing and diffuser surround.

Aerodynamically evolved, the cars deploy up to 220kg of downforce through the careful management of airflow under and over the car.

Air curtain elements and louvers in the front clam panel efficiently regulate turbulence and drag, and reduce pressure within the front wheel arches, increasing downforce.

The cut-out sections behind the rear wheels also reduce wheel arch pressure, while the high mounted straight rear wing and rear diffuser plant the cars to maximise traction and stability at high speeds.

With Nitron three-way adjustable dampers (tuning rebound, as well as low-speed and high-speed compression) and Eibach adjustable front and rear anti-roll bars, as standard, the cars use Michelin Pilot Sport Cup 2 tyres (215/45 ZR17 front and 285/30 ZR18 rear), fitted on ultra-lightweight, fully machined, forged aluminium wheels.

Superior stopping power is provided by forged, four-piston AP Racing brake calipers and race-derived two-piece, J-hook brake discs — provide improved bite and consistent stopping power after high-intensity track work.

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Riley

Chris Riley has been a journalist for almost 40 years. He has spent half of his career as a writer, editor and production editor in newspapers, the rest of the time driving and writing about cars both in print and online. His love affair with cars began as a teenager with the purchase of an old VW Beetle, followed by another Beetle and a string of other cars on which he has wasted too much time and money. A self-confessed geek, he’s not afraid to ask the hard questions - at the risk of sounding silly.