On a small mid-engine car, a traditional LSD is completely unnecessary because it can really hurt steering dynamics if you're a driver who knows what he's doing. But even someone less expert will feel the natural ease of driving cars configured like an Evora. Only a gentle ESP system or "electronic differential" is generally necessary.
Finally set loose on the ice at Circuit de Serre Chevalier, this became abundantly clearer still. My Evora had the full-on Sport package with shorter-shifting third through sixth gears on the Aisin manual and the Sport button for making the throttle exciting. I would have had the forged factory wheels, too, but Lotus gifted me with a set of WRC-regulation spiked Pirelli P Sottozeros.
Lotus, the circuit bosses, and I worked out a good deal. Seeing as I'd been driven to near insanity by the sat-nav woman telling what to do for three hours of lost mountain skier traffic, I was set free on the circuit for nearly two hours. I cannot express how therapeutic this was.
The spiked Pirelli Sottozeros deserve a lot of credit. Since they were spiked and the Evora has minimal wheel well clearance, all four corners were given 18-inch tires-235/40 R18 S Extra Load WRC-spec with hundreds of 2mm spikes. The only risk here is that you may start to feel like an invincible Nordic god-and that's exactly when I screw up totally.
But after a few laps of the half-mile circuit, I settled down and the car and I became one performing unit. There were others in training around the course in whiney AWD Subarus and asthmatic Fiat baby SUVs. Then there was me in my British rocket car with WRC tires. I have healthy testosterone, but this just doubled it. I became a Finnish rally legend out there, only one who was smiling all the time.
The trick, as all Finns know, is to switch off the ESP, leave the Sport button off, and keep the throttle gentle and steady. Only gas it a bit once you feel you've come all the way around. Finding my ease out there in second gear, I started creating oversteer on each approach to the several tight curves.
It was beautiful. There's a perfect feeling when you set up a curve just right, because it's a delicate balance you learn only after lots of experience. When I started hitting it curve after curve, forcing oversteer drifts with the spikey Sottozeros, I was in heaven.
Next, I want to get a Ferrari 430 Scuderia out here on 6mm spikes... then I'll switch on the Sport button and probably just explode.
2010 Lotus Evora
Transverse mid engine, rear-wheel drive
3.5-liter V6, dohc, 24-valve
Peak Power: 276 hp @ 6400 rpm
Peak Torque: 258 lb-ft @ 4700 rpm
0-62 mph: 4.9 sec.
Top Speed: 162 mph