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SP Rides: S is for Supercharged

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BY MICHAEL KITCHENS

Owner: Avery Tsui
Occupation: Senior administrator quotations
Hobbies: Cars, racing
Year, make, model: 2008 Lotus Exige S 240
Color: Aspen White
Engine: Lotus/Janspeed “stage 3” single-tip exhaust, RLS carbon fiber 3-chamber intercooler shroud and ducting, Carbon fiber (6k twill) gas cap, Sector 111 gPAN3 baffled oil pan, Voltphreaks VPH750 lithium ion battery and NCI bracket
Exterior: PPF full front, carbon fiber front lip, side scoops, adjustable rear wing, Sector 111 front and rear tow hooks, RLS ExtendView convex, anti-glare side mirrors 
Interior: Schroth 6-point (driver) 4-point (passenger) harnesses, Sector 111 sys.6.pack seat reinforcement for driver’s side, Alcantara wrapped steering wheel and shift boot, Suspension: Sector 111 v2 steering arms, Kenwood head unit with backup camera, 6.5-inch JL Audio Sub with amp in trunk
Wheels, brakes, tires: 16-inch front, 17-inch rear Lotus wheels, AP racing brakes, Potenza RE-71R tires 

Power-to-weight is everything in racing.  A concept that Avery Tsui firmly stands behind. As a seasoned racing veteran and current regional executive for the SCCA Hawaii Region, he has spent many days behind the wheel of modified vehicles which were built solely for performance. Be it Subarus or Miatas, they were designed to excel on the course, and one of the quickest ways to make a vehicle faster is to reduce and remove weight — or you could purchase a vehicle that’s lightweight to begin with.

Enter this 2008 Lotus Exige 240 S — which is essentially a factory-built, street-legal race car. Very few other car manufacturers follow this philosophy as closely as Lotus does. Founded by Colin Chapman in 1948, the brand became synonymous with this concept — lighter is better. And exceed they did, having built a reputation for seat-gripping performance in nimble, lightweight racecars.

When the Lotus Elise first hit American shores in 2004, Tsui became an immediate fan after experiencing the vehicle during a track day sponsored by a local car dealer. It left a permanent impression that he’s carried with him until today. Finally, with the kids grown and off to college, Tsui felt it time to purchase the car of his dreams. However, he just so happened to purchase an upgraded version.

The Exige 240 S is based on the same chassis as the standard Lotus Elise, except it features a plethora of performance modifications to set it apart. Body parts introduced to the standard vehicle allow an additional 100 pounds of downforce in the Exige.  The S stands for supercharged — in which the stock 180HP 2ZZ-GE engine is supplemented with an intercooled supercharger, brining the horsepower to 218HP.

Now, this may not seem like a lot of horsepower by today’s standards. However, when you consider that the entire vehicle sits at 2,057 pounds without a driver, this baby is essentially a rocket strapped to a go-kart. Tsui also augmented the engine with some more reliability mods such as a Sector 111 gPAN3 baffled oil pan and Lotus/Janspeed “stage 3” single-tip exhaust.

And it’s a mighty fine looking one at that. The Exige looks like a racecar. It doesn’t hurt to slap on some numbers such as Tsui’s either. The body has been augmented with some tasteful modifications to include carbon fiber lips, side scoops, an adjustable rear wing, and RLS ExtendView convex side mirrors. This is how the vehicle looks when ripping up the tarmac at SCCA’s SOLO events, which is Oahu’s only remaining asphalt racing left on the island.

The interior has been also modesty modified with several components — to include Schroth 6-point and 4-point harnesses for the driver and passenger, an Alcantara wrapped steering wheel as well as a sexy shift boot to spice up the cockpit. Overall, this car is pure race, through and through.

When it comes down to it, this purpose-built racecar is simply an extension of the driver and his intentions. For Tsui, it shows that he’s committed to motorsports, whether running events or racing in them.  Just watch out for those cones!   

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