4 Cyl. Chip #11: Red Race code for 2.0 liter GT3-engine
Reviewed by Owen Geddes (Race-Speed)

I had my GT3 upgrade chip for a while - it moved the boost limit up to 1.1 bar and used to MY99 code to generally improve the map. I found it to be a really good upgrade - with the extra stress on the engine likely to be relatively minimal. However as the old saying goes - you can never have enough power - so I asked Marcus for more!

Bearing in mind I am fitting an Aquamist to deal with any detonation problems I asked Marcus for 1.3 bar - but he reckoned the maximum I should use with my setup was 1.25 bar.

The result was a chip that moved the boost limit from .97 bar to 1.25 - moved the full boost limiter down from 4,500rpm to 3,000rpm and changed some other parameters - like removing the 121mph boost limiter. It came with a complete printout of all the parameter changes and map.

The standard car, whilst rapid, never really makes it to supercar league - a very mildly modified Elise will see it off under 70mph. This chip changes that completely - it introduces that feeling that I thought the car was missing - the feeling that when the boost comes in you have to hold on! also the standard cars power band was actually quite narrow due to not being able to deliver real boost until 4,500rpm. For sure this is done for a reason - reduce stress on the engine.

By moving the limit downwards it makes the engine far more flexible and the midrange receives a *huge* performance increases - and lets face it, unless you are using the car on the track - that's where you want it. Although moving the limit down to 3,000 rpm doesn't really do much - the turbo isn't capable of delivering more than 1 bar below 3,700 rpm. But that extra 800 rpm of (more than) full boost makes an enormous difference. What's also apparent is that at higher rpm the
turbo is not capable of delivering more than 1 bar - so Lotus specced the turbo perfectly. This means you get all your power from 3,750 to 5,500 rpm. After that you will feel the power drop off a bit. (the solution is upgrade your turbo)

The car now feels genuinely fast and flexible. It feels very similar to my old S4s - I'm sure on headline horsepower figures its delivering very similar numbers - although its still going to be down a way on torque. Its quite simply a different car.

Once you change the chip over it will only give you about 0.6 bar for the first 50 miles and then take a further 50 - 100 miles to give you access to all the boost. This is due to the ECU being reset. One quick tip - you can change the chip over without ever disconnecting the ECU - and therefore you get all of the performance right away (I tried it - it works). However I would not advise this as you don't want to have to replace your ECU - they are expensive!

But what that does mean is that a software chip switcher will work very, very well indeed. I want a map switcher that gives me four profiles - max 0.6 bar for economy, normal map, GT3 upgrade chip map and red race code map (and maybe even a fifth with no limits whatsoever). Hope you are listening Marcus - I want to trial this product!!! And I bet I could even hook the map switcher up to my traction control system somehow........ (now that really would be cool - using boost limits to control traction).

Anyway back to the subject in hand. Anybody worried about fuel consumption - don't be. It runs fairly rich but I can still squeeze 300 miles out of a tank - which is all I ever could before. Do pay attention to the fact that, as with any performance upgrade, it will induce more stress and wear on he engine and other components. I haven't removed the cat yet - but I will as I don't want the increased exhaust temps to cause me a problem. I have modified the induction path and used a K&N panel filter. Will be replacing that soon with a new carbon box I have for the job.

Detonation doesn't appear to have been a problem - will fit the Aquamist for safety - and it may even scavenge a bit of extra power. Only concern maybe whether its running too lean at peak boost/revs. I need to stick something on he dash so I can monitor it.

But put simply this transforms the way your car feels. Power delivery out of corners is far more readily available. Its more flexible in he midrange making it easier to drive. And the full boost being nearly .3 bar higher makes a huge difference.

So my advice - as long as you are aware of the extra wear and stress - do it! You get a different car for not much money! It will be enough to stop you wanting to upgrade to a v8!

Another word, from Nudge, Australia

I received your #11 Chip today in the mail and I was very pleased that it arrived 7 days after ordering it; all the way from Germany to Australia.

I immediately got underway to get the chip into the car. I couldn't contain myself any longer as I really want my Esprit to run correctly. I bought it in the UK and imported it to Australia exactly one year ago and to my dismay it ran very rough and the fuel mixture was always running the wrong way; hence after-firing syndrome and many other unhappy engine behavioral problems. I have spent thousands on supposedly "Expert Lotus" mechanics and not one of them could tune my engine and all of them eventually gave up and resorted to the old "you need to install an aftermarket computer"?

I was not convinced so I searched the net for answers and thanks to LotusEspritWorld website I was able to locate PUKEsprit and with Marcus' help I deduced that my 1987 Lotus Esprit HC Turbo had in fact received an aftermarket engine, but...contrary to what I was told by the seller the engine he installed is in fact a 2.0 Liter GT3 Lotus Development engine. And not a 2.2 Liter Esprit engine!!!

Let that be a lesson to anyone who is looking to buy an Esprit. Avoid cars that have engine numbers beginning with DEVxxxx xxxx as they are scrap engines that Lotus Engineering basically sells as scrap for parts.! I even paid over 300 Pounds to another "expert" automotive engineer to conduct a pre-purchase inspection of the car before I bought it and he concluded that the car was 100% AOK!!

So, in my desperation I contacted Marcus and asked if his ECU chips could help me. And once we had determined the correct engine that was in my car I ordered the number #11 Race Red Code Chip.

As soon as I had the new chip socket soldered in place and the new chip clipped in, I reconnected all the bits back in the car and from the second I started the engine, I could tell by the sound that there was a new "monster" in there.

I let it warm up for about 5 minutes before I drove it and then once on the suburban roads I kept it below 4000 RPM for the first 15 miles to let the engine learn any new parameters it needed. Then I slowly increased the throttle to 3/4 for the next 5 miles and then I let it rip with Full Open Throttle all the way close to top speed on a "Special" road where I would not encounter any other motorists (or the boys in blue!!:)

The engine revved out like never before and gear shifting seemed smoother (I don't know why really?) and just everything was cleaner and more controlled and consistent.

The after firing is completely eliminated (I'll have to check for this on the next few rides to be sure) and the temperature stayed where it should instead of climbing up quickly as it usually did when giving it some! I suspect the EGT temp must be running lower as a result of chemically correct burning.

I intend to do another service on the car in another 1000 miles to see what difference the chip has made to the spark plug condition. Also I happen to have a couple of WaterMethanol injection kits from ERL and am planning to install one of them on the Esprit once I am satisfied the engine is running as close to 100% as I can get it.

Marcus was great to deal with; very knowledgeable, polite, and prompt service. I recommend his products to anyone who has a Lotus Esprit.

Thanks Very Much Marcus. You have certainly made my day.