Lotus says its open-top 3-Eleven is the "quickest and most powerful production Lotus road car ever."

But calling it a "road car" is subjective, because buyers in the United States won't be able to register the featherweight roadster, though race versions will be available. And that's just fine, as the latest Lotus will shine its brightest at the track.

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The new car recently completed over 1,200 miles of tests at the grueling Nürburgring, and while no actual times were released, Lotus says the 450-horsepower, sub-2,000-pound rocket outperformed expectations. Testing was done during a two-week period specifically set aside for manufacturers.

Lotus 3-Eleven, 2015 Goodwood Festival of Speed

Lotus 3-Eleven, 2015 Goodwood Festival of Speed

Now, only educated guesses can be made about the machine's true potential, as the figure Lotus released was arrived at by combining the best sector times from two different laps. That said, the estimate of 7:06 seconds is astonishingly quick, and the engineers will likely find ways to shave off a few more seconds while completing the car's aerodynamic, suspension and engine tuning.

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To that end, development driver Marc Basseng said he feels the car is capable of a flat 7-minute time. That would put the 3-Eleven in fourth place for fastest street-legal cars to lap the Green Hell, behind a pair of Radical R8s, the Porsche 918 Spyder, and the Lamborghini Aventador SV.

Next year, the 'Ring's operators will once again allow record runs at the notoriously tricky track, so we'll have to wait until then for the 3-Eleven's official time.


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