LOTUS INKS ITS DRAGON TATTOO
Lotus has chosen the Autosport International Show to announce its full factory partnership with the Dragon Racing IndyCar team. Lotus Dragon Racing will be an official Lotus team, racing in the black and gold colours that are shared by the marque’s Formula One programme. Owned by Jay Penske – Chairman and CEO of the Penske Media Corporation, and son of US racing legend Roger Penske – Dragon Racing debuted in 2007, picking up fifth at the Indy 500 straight out of the box at the hands of Ryan Briscoe. In 2009, its first full season, Dragon driver Raphael Matos took the Rookie of the Year honours. In 2012, the Lotus Dragon Racing line up is a particularly strong one: Katherine Legge, the first female driver to win a major open-wheel race in North America, and four-time Champ Car Series champion and former F1 racer Sebastien Bourdais.
Claudio Berro, Group Lotus Director of Motorsport: Claudio Berro: "We are very pleased to be able to announce this new and exciting partnership with Dragon Racing today, a team which has demonstrated its potential and which we believe will achieve great success thanks to the Lotus IndyCar engine and the security of a major backer. Last year was Lotus' first foray into this prestigious open-wheel series since Jim Clark won the Indy 500 back in 1965. We have a tremendous legacy in this sport, and are determined to become winners again. The American market is one of the most important to Lotus in terms of road car sales, hence our aggressive marketing strategies through US auto racing. We believe Lotus Dragon Racing and our other partner teams will give us the best opportunity to achieve our ambitious goals."
INDIANA CLONES AND THE FAST CRUSADE
In 2012 no less than four teams with an anticipated minimum eights cars will be packing Lotus power in the IZOD IndyCar Series. The company’s all-new twin-turbo V6 has its first shakedown today at the Moroso circuit in Jupiter, Florida, with Lotus HVM driver Simona de Silvestro working the loud pedal. The engine program, which was announced in November 2010, has come together quickly without teething problems, and fire-ups away from the track have ticked all the boxes. Lotus Dragon Racing, Lotus HVM Racing, Lotus Bryan Herta Autosport, and Lotus Dreyer & Reinbold Racing are all confirmed as engine partners. The Autosport International Show marks the first public appearance of this ambitious powerplant.
Claudio Berro, Group Lotus Director of Motorsport: “The engine has performed extremely well so far, and we and our partners are very pleased with the results. We had our first fire-up in a Dallara chassis in Palma, Italy on 21-23 December, then the engine was sent to America, and today we’re having our first on-track shakedown, at Moroso, which is very exciting. On January 1st we opened a Lotus facility in Indianapolis which will be our US engineering and logistics hub, so it’s all go. We’ve still got a lot of work to do before the start of the season, but I couldn’t be happier with the progress we’re making.”