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DATE News (chronologically)
07/19/11
alms
Lotus Sport USA To Contest American Le Mans Series In 2012  UPDATE A reader writes, Dear AR1.com, How can a company that sell less cars in a year than GM sells in one day support all these racing programs? F1, IndyCar and ALMS? Something to think about. Does anyone remember JD Stacy? Tim DeCesaro

We agree it appears very suspect, but apparently their investors feel it is worth the upfront investment in order to build Lotus into a larger passenger car company. Remember that Ferrari is a racing company that sells cars. Perhaps Lotus is trying to follow that same model. Mark C.

07/18/11 News broke today that the North American fans will see the British-based manufacturer, Group Lotus, contest the LM GTE class in the American Le Mans Series (ALMS) next year. The car of choice is the Evora under the banner Lotus Sport USA with Ian Dawson and John Pritzlaff as team principals. For Dawson, it is a return to Lotus since his time with then back in the early 1970s before leaving the Formula One factory team to help Hector Rebaque form his own team with the Lotus chassis and Ford engines in 78'; however the only privateer team in Formula 1 folded after the ’79 season.

Dawson is now back on board with Lotus, partnered with Pritzlaff who is a financial expert and the one with the funds. While the two worked on their future plans with Group Lotus support, drivers will be announced at a later date.

Group Lotus’ Director of Motorsport Director 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 new team next year will have factory support in the International Motor Sport Association (IMSA) sanctioned series based in the USA. They are also planning an entry in the LM P2 class in the future. Besides knowing the Lotus side of the new venture, Dawson also knows the cutting edge of technology which is the base for the prototype cars, including sports car racing Le Mans-style. His past adventures include the ECO Racing BioDiesel project and last year, Dawson returned to the ALMS with his own team, Libra Racing. The prototype was a Radical SR9.

Lotus Sport USA plans to campaign in not only the American Le Mans Series but on the International level also. The announcement at the 24 Hours of Le Mans in June of the partnership between the Automobile Club de l’Oust (ACO) and the Fédération Internationale de l’Automobile (FIA) plays a key element for Group Lotus as the Evora has proven itself in sports car competition. The two entities’ have formed the World Endurance Championship, starting in 2012. It is an incentive for teams on both sides of the pond and from Asia to contest selective events for the return of a world title.

Lotus Sport USA will be based in North Carolina, USA. Group Lotus is based in Norfolk, England. The new team will begin testing later this year. More details on their new adventure will be announced later.

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