Jean Alesi will be out to write his own slice of Lotus history next year when he comes out of a ten-year retirement to tackle the 96th running of the Indianapolis 500.

Jean’s development role with Group Lotus will stand him in good stead as he prepares for his new challenge. He will be competing in a Lotus powered by the new Lotus IndyCar engine. Development of the 2.2-litre twin-turbo V6 is going to schedule with the first engine set to fire up for the first time in mid October and track testing planned for December.

Alesi will be aiming to follow in the footsteps of the legendary Jim Clark who won the 500 for Lotus back in 1965.

In January 2011 Alesi joined Group Lotus as a brand ambassador and development consultant on the F1 customer racecar, the T125. Although never straying far from the racetrack, the Indy 500 and oval racing represent completely new challenges for Jean.

Commenting on the announcement Jean Alesi said: “I’m thrilled that Lotus has given me the opportunity to compete in such a world famous race. It’s going to be a very special experience for me but I also know that I have a lot of hard work ahead. I’m very focused on the task I’m facing – I’m taking my training very seriously, I have some amazing support on this front from a ‘comeback’ expert and of course I will be testing extensively. I’m really excited about the race.”

Group Lotus Director of Corporate Operations Gino Rosato said: “IndyCar racing represents a really important element of our overall motorsport programme. The Indy 500 is the highlight of the race calendar, the atmosphere is always incredible and having Jean racing for us there will make it extra special.”