Top Gear drives the Lotus Exige V6
Final damper fettling of the new V6 Exige needed an expert touch. So why did Lotus send for Top Gear?
Posted: 10 Feb 2012
Lotus will tell you that what goes on inside is a science. It isn't - it's an art. Those little discs are called shims (it's basically a flash name for a washer), there are wide ones, narrow ones, thin ones, thick ones, ones that have notches cut in them, sprung ones and ones shaped like circular saw blades. They slot on the piston inside the damper and, once tensioned up and locked inside the casing, control how the oil moves through it (at the simplest level, more oil movement equals softer ride; less equals harder).
And that's it, that's the magic. But think about it: the order the shims go in, the number, the thicknesses, widths, cuts - the possibilities are almost limitless. And you know what? These little slivers of metal, some weighing less than a gramme, none bigger than a two-pence piece, make a massive difference to the way the new Exige handles and drives.