Sebring: Team Elite preview

Team Elite mixes youth with experience at the Sebring 12 Hours Team Elite, which is bringing the Lotus name back to international motorsport, heads into its debut race at Sebring on March 20 with a driver line-up that blends youth with...

Team Elite mixes youth with experience at the Sebring 12 Hours

Team Elite, which is bringing the Lotus name back to international motorsport, heads into its debut race at Sebring on March 20 with a driver line-up that blends youth with experience. Seasoned sportscar campaigner Jay Cochran, who scored a debut victory for the Ferrari 333SP in 1994, heads up Elite's driving strength. He will be joined in the team's Lotus Elise GTP by Ireland's Damien Faulkner, a former Indy Lights and Dallara Nissan World Series racer who is now forging a career in long-distance racing. A third driver will be announced in the run-up to the race.

Team Elite principal Keith Smout said: "We wanted a combination of talents in the car for our debut at Sebring. We believe that Jay and Damien fulfil our requirements. Everyone knows Jay's sportscar pedigree and we've chosen him to help develop the Elise GTP. His experience will be invaluable for what we are viewing as a public shakedown for the car. Damien is a young talent who can bring a lot to our programme. I believe he has a big future in sportscar racing."

Jay Cochran, 41, said: "I've raced for Ferrari and Jaguar, so it is great to now say that I'm a Lotus driver. I'm very excited about this project and the chance to go back to Sebring."

Damien Faulkner, 28, said: "This is a great opportunity for me to establish myself in sportscars. Team Elite are an ambitious team with big long-term goals, so I'm happy to forge this alliance with them early in their programme."

Team Elite is joining up with Dunlop for its 2004 sportscar programme. The LM-GTP class Elise will run on Dunlop tyres throughout the season.

Smout said: "This is a major bonus for Team Elite. Dunlop has extensive experience of the LM-GTP category from its years with Bentley at Le Mans in 2001-02 and will be working closely with us during the year."

The V8-engined Elise GTP will celebrate the 50th anniversary of Team Lotus, the name under which the historic marque won 13 Formula 1 World Championships between 1962 and 1979. The car will run anniversary decals incorporating the famous green-and-yellow Team Lotus roundel at Sebring.

Team Elite has also announced a tie-up with a new, state-of-the-art motorsport facility in British Columbia, Canada. The Active Mountain Raceway, 120 miles east of Vancouver, will be used during the Elise GTP's test and development programme.

Team Elite's headquarters are in Toronto, Ontario, Canada, while its technical base is in Tavares, Florida.

For further information - www.teameliteracing.com

-ter/alms-

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About this article
Series ALMS
Drivers Damien Faulkner , Jay Cochran
Teams Team Lotus