September 30, 2020

Choosing Tillett Seats for a Lotus Elise/Exige

The Lotus Elise/Exige is a tricky car to put aftermarket seats into, but you’ve come to the place where we’ve got a few different options to suit your preferences. Tillett Racing Seats from the UK has a number of options for you, ranging from road seats to track seats and all the brackets, sliders and accessories you might need. It can be confusing to figure out what’s right for your situation, so we’ve put together this guide to help you decide.

The Best of Both Worlds: Tillett B5

Tillett B5 Carbon Seat

The most popular seat for the Lotus Elise is the Tillett B5 Seat  which comes in either a carbon fiber finish on the inside seating surface or in a standard black GRP gelcoat finish. This seat works very well in a daily driver for road use since it is compatible with the stock 3-point belts. It’s easy to get into and out of and fits the narrow chassis of the Elise very well. In fact, it was designed specifically with this car in mind. It may be a more classic road seat, but it does feature shoulder belt holes and a center strap hole which makes it compatible with any 5/6-point harness. You therefore get the best of both worlds if you’re into track days: drive the car to the track with the normal DOT-approved 3-point belts and then switch to the harness when you’re out there turning laps.

To mount the B5 to the car, there are two common setups. For a predominantly road use car, it’s useful to retain the sliding capability on the driver seat to adjust for different drivers and driving positions. The Tillett EB2 brackets allow for this. It mounts to the original Lotus sliders, has mounting points for the lap belts and the seat pitch can be adjusted via bolts. For the passenger side, we recommend hard mounting the seat via the Tillett EB1 brackets. Both seat pitch and legroom can be adjusted via bolts in this setup, so it’s not something you’ll want to do regularly, but it takes maybe 10-15 minutes if you need to do it.

Alternatively, you can hard mount the driver seat as well via the Tillett EB1 brackets. Adjusting legroom will be via 4 bolts instead of the OEM sliders then — again not something that you’ll want to do regularly — but is easy to do. We have seen this B5 setup in some very fast track-only Exige cars and we generally recommend hard mounting track car seats whenever possible.

Beyond mounting, the seat provides a lot of lateral support, it can accomodate slightly larger drivers and is generally easier to get into and out of than the other seat option (see below.) We do recommend getting the seat pads which reduce/avoid sliding on the very smooth seat surfaces, especially if you run exclusively or mostly run the 3-point belts.

Get serious: Tillett B6 Screamer

Tillett B6 Screamer Seat

While the Tillett B5 is the best choice for a road car and personal preference choice for a track car, a more serious track setup is to run a Tillett B6 Screamer in any of the four varieties. You can choose between a combination of regular vs wider XL width and carbon/GRP carbon fiber finish or black/GRP gelcoat finish.

This seat is an FIA homologated racing seat, meaning it has with the maximum lateral support. Like any “bucket seat,” that can make it a tight fit for some drivers and the seat more or less requires running a permanent 5/6-point belt. Running with a 3-point belt is not recommended, because the location of the seat belt receptacle is tricky and it also requires running the belt from the top of the A pillar through the inside of the seat’s lap belt hole and back out towards the side of the car. No belt should ever be run across the top of this seat. All lap belts must be run through the lap belt holes.

For mounting the seat, there are 3 options:

  • Tillett EB F2: Fixed mount to OEM chassis holes with no sliding or legroom adjustment. Seat pitch adjustable. No lap belt mounting holes. Can be used on driver or passenger side.
  • Tillett EB4: Fixed mount to OEM chassis holes with no sliding or legroom adjustment. Seat pitch adjustable. Includes lap belt mounting holes for use on driver or passenger side.
  • Tillett EB5: Mounts to OEM sliders, making legroom adjustable. Seat pitch adjustable. Includes lap belt mounting holes for use on driver or passenger side.

Since the Tillett B6 Screamer can be a tight fit for some drivers, the wider Tillett B6 XL Screamer Carbon/GRP Race Car Seat  is an option for larger drivers. Defining the crossover point from regular to XL width is difficult and depends on a number of factors, but very roughly, starting at around 200 lbs and 36” waist the regular width probably won’t work. On the high end, we’ve comfortably fit 260+ lbs drivers into the XL. It’s all personal preference though and there is no hard rule on this.

The XL width is a great option, though does present some challenges for mounting, albeit surmountable ones. First, the transmission tunnel cover needs to be removed, which doesn’t really matter for a track car. Second, none of the brackets provide for a bolt-in install because the seat is too wide to make the OEM bolt holes fit. The EB F2, EB4 or EB5 brackets are designed for a regular width seat and can be used, but they will likely require some additional adjustment.

The Tillett B6 Screamer typically comes with the edges of the seat in smooth rounded “rolled edge” style. This can be special ordered to be removed, which can help fitment of the B6 Screamer XL, but we generally don’t recommend doing this because the rolled edge is visually more appealing and adds further rigidity to the seat.

I need to get it super light: Tillett B7

The Tillett B7 seat is the most serious of them all. It’s an FIA bucket seat exactly like the Tillett B6 Screamer, but the key difference is that it’s fully carbon fiber all the way through. That makes it very light, but also much more expensive. We rarely have stock of this seat, but we’re happy to order it for you. It does not come in an XL version, but is otherwise the same shape and bracket setup as the Tillett B6 Screamer.

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