Lotus (Group Lotus, the car people, not Team Lotus the Tony Fernandez team) released news today that they will compete in a full North American and International schedule in the GT2 classe with the Lotus Evora GTE. They will race in the American Le Mans Series in a factory-backed effort through the newly formed Lotus Sport USA, and will also look toward fielding an LMP2 car by 2013. Heading up the new program are sports car racing veteran Ian Dawson and financial guru John Pritzlaff.
“We are very happy to confirm the formal plans for Lotus Sport USA. This part of the world represents a very important market to Group Lotus now and for the future. With Ian Dawson and John Pritzlaff on board, I’m sure Lotus Sport USA will go from strength to strength.” — Claudio Berro, Director of Motorsport, Group Lotus
Not every detail is fully nailed down just yet, and Lotus Sport USA plans on finalising and announcing additional partnerships as they begin testing later this year. This is an ambitious effort by Lotus, as we’ve mentioned before. They have involvement in Forumula 1 in joint effort with Renault, they have a partnership with KV Racing Technologies in the IZOD IndyCar Series, and now they plan on launching a GTE (GT2) effort both in the ALMS and in the FIA’s new World Endurance Championship followed by an LMP2 effort. If they can pull it all off, it will make Lotus one of the most widely visible auto manufacturers in motorsports!
This could also be a nice shot in the arm for the ailing American Le Mans Series. Given how the ALMS visibility has plummeted this year, the announcement of ANY team wishing to enter the series has to be views as positive news, but having Lotus come with a factory effort is GREAT news. …now lets hope that we can actually watch the racing next season.
Full Group Lotus Press Release
Group Lotus Motorsport announced today the formation of Lotus Sport USA led by Team Principals Ian Dawson and John Pritzlaff.
Director of Motorsport Claudio Berro said: “We are very happy to confirm the formal plans for Lotus Sport USA. This part of the world represents a very important market to Group Lotus now and for the future. With Ian Dawson and John Pritzlaff on board, I’m sure Lotus Sport USA will go from strength to strength.”
The factory endorsed team will focus primarily on the GT2 and LMP2 classes in IMSA (International Motor Sport Association). Following the recent announcement of the World Endurance Championship by the FIA (Fédération Internationale de l’Automobile) and ACO (Automobile Club de l’Oust), the driver and constructor championships are being considered.
The new team will initially race with the Lotus Evora GTE through a full North American and International schedule in 2012. The program will begin testing in quarter four of 2011.
The team will be announcing some innovative and exciting new partners to the program, including key personnel to support this long-term partnership.
The move marks the welcome return of Ian Dawson to the Lotus brand. Early in his career, he was a member of the prestigious Team Lotus in the 1970’s. Afterwards Ian continued working with the brand in a key role for the only private Lotus Team, Rebaque F1.
With his background in banking as a financial executive John Pritzlaff will bring structure and oversight to the racing program. John has a great understanding of this legendary marquee and is dedicated to the preservation of the Lotus heritage and legacy through motorsport.
North American Headquarters for Lotus Sport USA are located at the North Carolina Center for Automotive Research complex and testing facility. The European Headquarters is near the Group Lotus Headquarters in Norfolk England.