Lotus will return to Le Mans in 2012 with an all-new LMP2 car.
The car is currently being developed under Lotus’s “technical genius” Paolo Catone, and will be on-track by the end of 2011.
Lotus has revealed few details about this “very special project”, but has confirmed it will be a closed-cockpit car and has been designed to conform to the new ACO rules.
The announcement was made in a detailed Lotus statement outlining its plans to once again become a major player in multiple forms of motorsport around the world.
The other big news is the confirmation of a new GT2 racer based on one of its upcoming Paris motor show road cars, believed to be the Elite.
Lotus will once again race in IndyCar in 2011 with the KV Technology team. A minimum of two cars will be entered at each event. Lotus will also be working on a new IndyCar chassis and bodywork for 2012 when there is a major change in the IndyCar regulations.
As confirmed last week, Lotus will also enter teams into the GP2 and GP3 championships for the next three years in conjunction with ART Grand Prix. The firm will also commence deliveries of its Evora GT4 car next month (20 orders have already been received) and Lotus has also revealed it will adapt the car to meet GT2 and GT3 regulations.
Lotus will also be expanding its Lotus Driving Academy (LDA) programme in 2011, starting with a redevelopment of its current Hethel facility and test track. The 3.6km, 12-metre wide track will boast 12 pit-lane garages and will be able to hold 24 cars at one time. It will conform to current FIA safety regulations and will be able to hold events including GT racing and F1 testing.
LDA will be launched in the UAE, Eastern Europe, the US, Japan, Russia and Malaysia with the aim of developing racing drivers’ talents and allow customers to test drive Lotus products. Lotus Cup one-make race series will also undergo a rebranding with full support from Lotus Motorsport based at Hethel.
The flagship of the Lotus motorsport programme will be the Lotus T125 F1-style race car and Exos Experience, which has already attracted 10 customers who will receive their cars in April following hot-weather testing this winter.
Lotus director of motorsport Claudio Berro said: “Lotus is motorsport and racing is in our DNA. We have a special place in motorsport history and now as we unveil the beginning of our future plans it’s important for people to realise just how committed we are to doing our heritage justice.
“There is no better platform to demonstrate the transfer of technology from track to road car than a full range of pure motorsport activity, we have to tick all the boxes.
“As with our new product line up set to be unveiled in just a few days' time at the Paris motor show we are entering a new era for Lotus Motorsport – there’s lots more to come and trust me, there will be something to please every motorsport enthusiast, from the committed fan to the Senna of the future.”