Can an LSD be installed into an Exige or Elise sports car?
The Simply Sports Cars crew can do all kinds of modifications and upgrades for Lotus Elise, Exige or Evora sports cars in Australia. One of the more involved upgrades that we do for people doing quite a few track days, motorsport or targa rally events is to replace the factory differential with a Quaife Limited Slip Differential.
We can remove the gearbox and transmission to install an LSD into suitable Exige or Elise models to suit the required applications.
What is an LSD?
- It gives you better traction & grip
- Improves etter cornering speeds
- Helps to reduce tyre wear
- Can increase vehicle stability
The limited slip differential, or LSD, helps get a vehicle’s power to the road, or the tarmac in the case of a race track. In really simple terms the limited-slip diff does what it says, it’s a device that limits the amount of wheelspin when the driven wheels lose grip when power is applied.
So it means for a rear wheel drive sports car both wheels can help you to power out of a corner. The limited slip differentials can allow a driver to put down a lot of power without one or the other wheel breaking traction.
While there isn’t any significant benefit in a straight line, it does come into it’s own when cornering, typically you can drive the car faster through corners with greater levels of grip. Typically, when you go around a corner the weight transfers to the outside wheel, therefore the inside wheel becomes unloaded.
When applying torque to an unloaded wheel it doesn’t get as much traction. In very simple terms, the Exige V6 in standard configuration will use it’s electronics to brake the inside wheel and adjust the torque characteristics.
In comparison a mechanical LSD will transfer the drive to the loaded, outside wheel, thus creating more traction and reduce the reliance on electronics or using the brake to stabilise the car.
What are the different types of LSD?
There are different types of LSD available and from our experience there will be situations that will suit those applications given their unique features and benefits. We have experience using Plate and Hellical Limited Slip Differentials where we have applied them to road or track cars for various applications.
In the case of a recent Exige V6 Build, we used a Quaife Hellical Limited Slip Differential as the vehicle will be used for both road and track with little to no competitive motorsport use. So the focus is more on long term reliability vs outright performance.
An Elise or Exige is already considered one of the best track cars you can get for under $200K due to their precise handling, adding an LSD takes this up a level with even better grip and traction. It also means there is less wear on the tires from the typical loss of traction.
Combine this with the Lotus ‘Sport’ or ‘Race’ modes that are available you have an incredible combination of stability and cornering performance that can help improve lap times and give you a more stable vehicle to drive.
Why do we use Quaife LSD's?
Quaife Engineering is a British manufacturer of automotive drivetrain products. They specialise in the design and manufacture of motorsport and performance orientated gearboxes, gearkits, differentials, steering racks and axle kits.
They were founded in the 1960’s and by the 1980’s had rolled around they were creating a range of purpose designed motorsport transmissions including the famous ATB Differential that was used in Formula 1. So reliable and effective were their products that they were used used in a diverse number of applications like Gehard Berger’s Benetton F1 car which won the 1986 Mexico Grand Prix.
Quaife have continued to be a leader in their field and supply OEM products for a number of high performance vehicles which include the Lotus Evora 400, Mk3 Ford Focus RS Edition and even the 2018 Fiesta ST. More specialist manufacturers also use their products like Radical Sportcars, Morgan Motor Company and Caterham Cars.
What else gets changed when we upgrade an LSD in a Lotus sports car?
Gear Shift Pads
Using our experience in motorsport and targa rally competition we have developed a range of other parts or upgrades that we typically recommend when making changes to the LSD. One of those is our Gear Shift Slip Pads. These were designed in-house by our engineering team to replace the factory pieces. Our pads are made from brass, designed to be hard wearing and more reliable for track day or targa rally type of usage. It means the driver will have a consistent shift feel without the long term reliability concerns.
We drain and replace the gearbox oil with a higher motorsport grade product for optimum performance levels.
The factory gears in our opinion are pretty tough, so we typically don’t make any changes to these. We do always check them for signs of wear, but most of the time they are in good condition and ready to be driven on the track.
Together with the LSD upgrade it means the gearbox and transmission is receiving the right level of attention to deal with the mechanical punishment they will received when being driven enthusiastically. All of these steps are taken from the things we have learned by servicing, modifying and racing Lotus sports cars over the last 20 years.
How far can we go with track day car builds or general modifications?
Simply Sports Cars has extensive experience with track day car or race car builds in Australia. You can consult directly with our team of race engineers to build a spec that suits your applications.
Our team can also provide ongoing support with trackside assistance, driver training, suspension set up and even data analysis.