OpEd – Will the real Lotus please stand up?

Group Lotus, Team Lotus, Lotus Racing, Lotus Motorsports, Lotus Cars, Lotus Engineering… we have a whole field of Lotus and its downright confusing to us fans! To add to the confusion Group Lotus is suing Lotus Racing over the rights to use the name Team Lotus. …er? what? Yeah, that’s how I felt at first to. It would be simpler if one group was the production car wing of the larger parent company and the other group the motorsports wing. However, that’s not exactly how it is. Group Lotus has as part of it Lotus Cars, Lotus Motorsports, and Lotus Engineering. Team Lotus is a separate entity entirely who’s sole purpose is the operation of a Formula 1 racing team, but they entered the season under the name Lotus Racing. Now that Group Lotus is wanting to get into motorsports more heavily, they’re taking objection to Team Lotus’s use of the “Lotus” name in their operations. Its all kind of crazy and I don’t pretend to understand the ins and outs of trademark debates and legal wrangling, especially since this is being done in the British court system. I do know enough to know that its a mess, and if you want to take a stab at understanding the whole brouhaha I suggest reading Autosport’s article Lotus insists it can use Team Lotus name.

What I do know is the whole list of exciting things that Group Lotus is planning for the 2011 racing season. In addition to expanding their involvement with KV Racing Technologies in the IZOD IndyCar Series, they’re also bringing an LMP2 competitor to the track as well as GT2, GT3, and GT4 cars, and they’re looking at becoming involved in GP2 and GP3. In 2012, as we’ve already heard, they plan on being a constructor of aero kits for the new rolling chassis Dallara is building for the IZOD IndyCar Series.

Lotus in IndyCar

The 2011 IndyCar season will see Lotus continue to work with KV Racing Technology providing further technical and engineering support, fielding a minimum of two cars on the grid. We’ll also commence development on new body work and chassis – in line with the new regulation scheduled for implementation in 2012.

Yep, that’s right. Lotus is stepping up their involvement to sponsor a minimum of two cars! This is good news for Vasser and KK. After the disastrous and expensive season they’ve had, its good to see Lotus stand behind them like this. Quite honestly, its good to see ANY sponsor in the IZOD IndyCar Series showing as strong of support as Lotus is showing KVRT.

Lotus in LeMans

GT2: More exciting news – we are currently developing a new GT2 car based on one of our eagerly anticipated future road cars, set to be unveiled at the Paris Motor Show. The new GT2 car will be in line with the new regulations.

LMP2: This very special project is under the expert direction of technical genius Paolo Catone. The car is being developed to meet new ACO rules, it will have a closed cockpit and is due to be on-track late 2011, with an assault on the 24 Hr Le Mans planned for 2012.

Unfortunately, we have no news on who if anyone will be running the GT2 car either in the European, Asian, or American Le Mans Series. With the promise of a late 2011 track date for the LMP2 contender, its quite possible that we see the new Lotus LMP2 car turn its first lap in anger at Road Atlanta for the Petit LeMans.

Lotus in GP2 & GP3

In collaboration with seasoned championship winners ART Grand Prix, we have now confirmed our participation in the 2011 GP2 (Europe and Asia series) and GP3 series. The contract with ART Grand Prix sees us commit to providing technical and engineering support for the GP2 and GP3 race series for a minimum of three years.

This, I think, is why Group Lotus is finally, after months of Lotus Racing using the Lotus name, up in arms and wanting to “defend their brand.” This involvement in the feeder series of Formula 1 may be a precursor to their wanting to be part of the main circus, and let’s be honest, it would be a bit odd to have two teams on the grid with the same name. …er… oh, wait. Ok, perhaps we can call one of them Toro Lotus.

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