1990 Racing Season - Lotus X180R

Escort Surprise! Lotus wins inaugural Escort World Challenge round.

1990 Season Summary

  • Drivers: Doc Bundy, Scott Lagasse, John Miles (Lotus F1 driver; was third driver for Mosport 24 hour race)
  • 2 race cars (Lotus Esprit SE Type 105)
  • 4 wins (50% of the races)
  • 6 pole positions (75% of the races)
  • 2 finishes in 1-2 formation
  • 7 podiums
  • 6 events where fastest lap was set
  • 2,900 race miles with no mechanical problems
  • 7 out of 8 races led the field
  • Lotus placed second in the manufacturers champsionship (Corvette 2nd, Porsche 3rd, Mazda 4th, Nissan 5th)
  • top driver, Doc Bundy, was second in the final drivers points
  • Lotus Cars USA presented with the Jim Cook Memorial Award for “consistent display of good character and sportsmanship” and a “significant contribution to the overall success of the series”

1990 SCCA Escort World Challenge

This was the inaugarel year for SCCA’s World Challenge professional racing series for production based sports cars. It was thought that the Corvette would be unbeatable, as the Corvette Challenge series ended and numerous well-prepared Corvette temas moved over to World Challenge.

Type 105 race cars were entered as “Lotus Esprit Turbo”

Doc Bundy's winning trophy from the 1990 Road Atlanta World Challenge race. (Credit: Ralph Stechow)

This piqued Lotus’s interest and they pulled two Esprits off the assembly line and developed the Esprit into the Type 105 “X180R”, taking the internal Esprit model identifier X180 and appending “R” for racing.

Campaigning under the banner of the Texas-based Pure Sports team with Doc Bundy and Scott Lagasse.

Doc Bundy would take 2nd in the championship, after a crash in Dallas left him without the points to clinch the championship. Scott Lagasse taking 5th, the rest of the top nine drivers in the championship were all Corvette racers.

Lotus’s success prompted them to develop the twenty X180R cars with the bare minimum required to allow street registration, with their success highlighted by “World Challenge” decals on the front fenders.

At the end of the season, both X180R Type 105 race cars were sent back to Lotus Cars Ltd for upgrades to Type 106 (IMSA spec).

X180R clip from World Challenge
DateRaceCircuitDurationNo.VINDriversEntrantWeightStartedResultsNotes
May 5, 1990Sears PointRoad Course3 hours17SCCFC20851HF65798Doc BundyPure Sports2,5005th1stled 83 of the 92 laps
Jun 2, 1990DallasStreet Circuit1 hourSCCFC20851HF65798Doc BundyPure Sports2,5002ndDNFhit from behind
Jul 1, 1990Laguna SecaRoad Course3 hoursDoc BundyPure Sports2,6001st1stmin weight increased; tested new Lotus ABS system
Jul 1, 1990Laguna SecaRoad Course3 hoursScott LagassePure Sports2,600DNFcrash in Corkscrew (lost rear breaks); kept old braking system
Jul 14, 1990Des MoinesStreet Circuit1 hourPure Sports2,6001st3rd
Jul 14, 1990Des MoinesStreet Circuit1 hourPure Sports2,600
Jul 28, 1990Road AtlantaRoad Course3 hoursDoc BundyPure Sports2,6001st1stLotus ABS system fitted to both cars
Jul 28, 1990Road AtlantaRoad Course3 hoursScott LagassePure Sports2,6002ndLotus ABS system fitted to both cars
Aug 11-12, 1990Mosport EnduroRoad Course24 hoursDoc Bundy / Scott Lagasse / John MilesPure Sports2,6501st6thmin weight increased
Aug 25, 1990DenverStreet Circuit1 hourScott LagassePure Sports2,6501st1st
Aug 25, 1990DenverStreet Circuit1 hourDoc BundyPure Sports2,6502nd
Nov 3, 1990St. PetersburgStreet Circuit1 hourPure Sports1st6th
Nov 3, 1990St. PetersburgStreet Circuit1 hourPure Sports

Personalities Involved in 1990 Effort

  • Alan Nobbs: Lotus powertrain engineer for racing team (hired from Corvette ZR-1 project)

  • John Miles: Lotus chassis development and third driver for 24 hour endurance race (former F1 driver for Lotus)

  • Colin Marriott: Lotus engineer on chassis, engine, etc

  • Richard Clarke: Lotus Cars USA field engineer (previously worked for Lotus Engineering in active F1 suspensions)

  • Rick Adley: Pure Sports team manager

  • Jim Bell: Pure Sports crew chief

  • Ron Foster: President of Lotus Cars USA