Lotus Engineering has pulled the covers of a radical concept design for what an endurance race car may look like in an all-electric future.
Nicknamed the Lotus E-R9, the fighter-jet-style racer has been created as a “technology showcase” for what a Le Mans car could resemble in 2030.
The car features morphing body panels, which can minimise drag along the straights or maximise performance around corners. These panels are located across the delta-wing profile and they alter their shape with a push of a button from the driver or automatically via sensors.
A black-and-gold colour scheme reflects the iconic John Player Special livery that donned Lotus’ Formula 1 challengers in the 1970s.
The ‘9’ in the car name also pays homage to the brand’s racing history, specifically the Lotus Mark IX that Lotus made their debut at the Le Mans with in 1955.
“What we’ve tried to do is to push the boundaries of where we are technically today and extrapolate into the future,” said Richard Hill, who helped engineer the concept car.
“The Lotus E-R9 incorporates technologies which we fully expect to develop and be practical. Lotus has an amazing history of developing unique solutions, and we’ve done it many times in motorsport and with our road cars.”
The E-R9 also features an “advanced electric drivetrain” powering each wheel independently, likely similar to the high-performance motor used on the manufacturer’s first electric vehicle: the Evija.
Platform engineer Louis Kerr, who was responsible for overseeing the Evija, also commented on the ability of the E-R9 to have its entire battery swapped out in rapid time. The idea is to have an electric race car that does not rely on lengthy battery charging periods by simply being able to switch a depleted battery for a full one.
“Battery energy density and power density are developing significantly year on year,” Kerr said.
“Before 2030, we will have mixed-cell-chemistry batteries that give the best of both worlds, as well as the ability to ‘hot swap’ batteries during pit stops.”
Lotus did not comment on whether there is any intention to build a race-going E-R9 for competition. However, they did note that 2030 will mark the 75th anniversary of its debut Le Mans appearance.