Lotus Announces LMP2, GT2, and GT3 Chassis Development.

A concept rendering of Lotus' new LMP2 chassis.

A very Peugeot-esque concept rendering of Lotus' new LMP2 chassis.

After recent press regarding a very public dispute over naming rights with the F1 team bearing its name, Lotus has announced the next chapter in its extensive motorsport history. Earlier this year the famous marque made headlines by announcing a return to the the IndyCar series, along with the development of its GT4 Evora.

Today’s announcements have confirmed what many in sportscar racing circles had long suspected. Lotus has signaled its intention to join the ever-growing list of LMP and GT chassis manufacturers, announcing plans to build LMP2, GT2, and GT3 chassis.

As Lotus’ first foray into LMP competition, chassis design will be spearheaded by Paolo Catone, chief designer of Peugeot’s Le Mans winning 908 LMP1.

Lotus has already revealed the nature of the vehicle to be a closed-cockpit coupe, built to 2011 ACO LMP2 specification. Initial plans indicate the car will make its competitive debut next year, with an all-out attack on the 24 Hour planned for 2012.

This however, was not the only announcement of the day. In what can now be seen as a complete rebirth of motorsport activities for the legendary brand, Lotus has also confirmed the development of both GT2 and GT3 variations of its mid-engined GT4 Evora.

In addition to this, a new GT2 chassis will be constructed from a yet to be unveiled car, rumoured to be making its first appearance at the Paris Autoshow in within the week.

Claudio Berro (Director, Lotus Motorsport) made the following statement:

“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 realize 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.”

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ILMC: United AutoSports Confirm Zhuhai Participation.

United AutoSports aim to participate in future ILMC events with their GT3-spec Audi R8 LMS.

United AutoSports aim to participate in future ILMC events with their GT3-spec Audi R8 LMS.

Having only been in existence for less than 12 months, United AutoSports today released details of the next step in its ever expanding programme. The team, known for their exploits in both the FIA GT3/British GT series and, more recently their spectacular third in-class, fourth overall finish at the Spa 24 Hours, has today unveiled plans to participate in the Chinese event of the inaugural Intercontinental Le Mans Cup.

The Zak Brown-led squad will commit a two car effort to the Zhuhai race, with the drivers of the first car already confirmed as Frenchmen, Jean Richard (of ALMS fame) and Alain li. The driver pairing for the second entry is expected to be confirmed at some time later this month. The European-based squad is the first, and only competitor based outside of Asia to confirm entries for the event.

Team owner Zak Brown had the following to say in light of the announcements: “I’m very excited about our new team racing in Asia in United Autosports’ first year of competition. Having contested the full FIA GT3 European Championship, the Spa 24 Hours and a couple of British GT Championship events, to now get an entry in the Intercontinental Le Mans Cup finalé is just amazing and underlines our desire and our commitment to GT sports car racing.”

As the standard ACO class structure does not accomodate such entries, the ACO has borrowed the use of the GTC class name in order to accommodate GT3 participants. Thus the team’s weapon of choice, Audi’s R8 LMS GT3, will compete within this temporary category alongside fellow GT3-spec participants.

When questioned as to whether the inclusion of such a category would continue in future ACO-sanctioned events, ACO Sporting Director, Vincent Beaumesnil responded with the following statement: “At this stage, for sure, it’s a one shot. “Maybe in the future for other race events we’ll be open, but there’s no question. We won’t introduce these cars in all of the Le Mans events.”

ALMS: Leitzinger/Drissi Join JaguarRSR for Petit Le Mans.

JaguarRSR's XKR GT2 during the 2010 6H Laguna Seca. - Image Courtesy Speedtv.com/Doug Werner.

JaguarRSR's XKR GT2 during the 2010 6H Laguna Seca. - Image Courtesy Speedtv.com/Doug Werner.

In a recent press release, JaguarRSR has unveiled driver lineups for the team’s Petit Le Mans debut. Some time ago the team confirmed it would field an additional XKR GT2 entry for the event, only now have specific details been released regarding the entry.

Endurance Aces, Butch Leitzinger and Tommi Drissi will join the squad for the 10 hour/1000 mile event, piloting the #33 chassis with JaguarRSR team owner and driver, Paul Gentilozzi.

Having driven a wide array of both prototype and GT machinery over the years, Leitzinger brings a wealth of knowledge and experience to the team. Known more recently for his exploits with Alex Job Racing in the GTC category, Leitzinger has a total of 91 ALMS starts to his name.

With victories at Le Mans, Daytona, in addition to various championships (i.e.  WSC, CanAm, and IMSA GTU), the talented North American provides vital substance to the growing team.

With recent outings in both LMP and TransAm machinery (the latter of which with Gentilozzi’s TransAm team), Tommi Drissi is a familiar face within US sportscar racing circles. Experience in ALMS, TransAm, GrandAm, and World Challenge series make Drissi a prime candidate for driving duties in JaguarRSR’s expanding programme.

The services of team regulars Marc Goossens and Ryan Dalziel will continue to be utilised within the #75 entry.

Aston Martin Unveil Open Cockpit LMP for 2011

An artists impression of AMR's latest LMP1 design.

An artists impression of AMR's latest LMP1 design.

During an official press release at this weekend’s AutoSport 1000KM of Silverstone, Aston Martin Racing has unveiled details of its highly anticipated, next generation LMP1 project. Originally thought to have been a closed cockpit design like its predecessor, AMR’s latest LMP has now been revealed as an open cockpit roadster. The announcement cements AMR’s presence as the first major manufacturer to release plans for the 2011 season.

Designed to contest the 2011 Le Mans 24 Hour, the new LMP marks AMR’s first purpose-built race package in over 50 years. Renderings released to media during the presentation suggest the chassis will share a similar nose design to its Lola-AMR predecessor. The infamous shark fin concept, designed to reduce aerodynamic instability, can also be seen adorning the car’s rear bodywork.

Aston Martin Chairman, David Richards made the following statement  in relation to LMP engine design: “In recent years, it has been impossible for petrol cars to compete on equal terms with the diesels. However, we now have assurances from the ACO that, with the adoption of the 2011 regulations, they will properly balance the performance of these new cars.”

While specific details regarding the car’s petrol engine have yet to be released, the unit will likely be of six/eight cylinder design.

Development of both the chassis and engine have progressed over several months at AMR headquarters, with the new LMP designated to commence testing during early 2011. Initial production will be limited to six units.

ALMS: Petit Le Mans Entry list.

ALMS Logo

Provisional entry listings for the 13th running of the annual Petit Le Mans classic, the second round of the inaugural Intercontinental Cup, have now been released. As expected LMP numbers have increased to a respectable twelve entries. The field including entries from both Audi and Peugeot. Despite expressing interest during the early races of the series, the grid is devoid of any factory AMR presence.

In the LMP2 category the championship battle is still very much alive. With Highcroft only possessing a marginal points lead over rivals, Cytosport, series honours remain a possibility for both squads. Despite rumours indicating the addition of several European privateer teams, OAK Racing remains the only Le Mans Series participant to commit an entry.

Although lacking in international flavour, additional entries and the appearance of new faces boost the GT category to its most healthy state in recent years. Additional entries from both Robertson Racing and JaguarRSR, along with the appearance of the ACS Doran Ford GT and the eagerly anticipated Panoz Abruzzi entry of PTG will see the GT category sporting a field of 17 entries.

Full entry listings can be seen below.

LMP1

  • 7 Audi Sport Team Joest – Audi R15+ – Rinaldo Capello / Tom Kristensen / Allan McNish
  • 8 Drayson Racing – Lola B09 60-Judd – Paul Drayson / Jonny Cocker / Emanuele Pirro
  • 9 Audi Sport Team Joest – Audi R15+ – Marcel Fässler / Andre Lotterer / Benoît Treluyer
  • 12 Autocon Motorsports – Lola B06 10-AER – Bryan Willman / Tony Burgess /Chris McMurry
  • 37 Intersport Racing – Lola B06 10-AER – Jon Field / Clint Field
  • 07 Team Peugeot Total – Peugeot 908 HDI FAP – Marc Gené / Alexander Wurz / Anthony Davidson
  • 08 Team Peugeot Total – Peugeot 908 HDI FAP – Pedro Lamy / Franck Montagny / Stéphane Sarrazin

LMP2

  • 1 Patrón Highcroft Racing – HPD ARX-01c – David Brabham / Simon Pagenaud / Marino Franchitti
  • 5 Libra Racing – Radical SR9-IES – Andrew Prendeville / TBD
  • 6 Muscle Milk Team CytoSport – Porsche RS Spyder – Klaus Graf / Sascha Maassen / Lucas Luhr
  • 16 Dyson Racing Team Castrol – Lola B09 86-Mazda – Chris Dyson / Guy Smith / Andy Meyrick
  • 24 Oak Racing – Pescarolo P01-Judd – Jacques Nicolet / Frédéric Da Rocha / Patrice Lafargue

GT1

  • 66 Atlas eFX-Team – Saleen S7R – Carlo van Dam / TBD / TBD

GT2

  • 3 Corvette Racing – Chevrolet Corvette ZR1 – Johnny O’Connell /Olivier Beretta / Antonio Garcia
  • 4 Corvette Racing – Chevrolet Corvette ZR1 – Oliver Gavin / Jan Magnussen / Emmanuel Collard
  • 10 ACS Express Racing – Doran Design Ford GT – Brandon Davis / Boris Said / Townsend Bell
  • 17 Team Falken Tire – Porsche 911 GT3 RSR – Bryan Sellers / Wolf Henzler / Martin Ragginger
  • 21 Panoz Team PTG – Panoz Abruzzi Spirit of Le Mans – Ian James / Benjamin Leunberger
  • 33 JaguarRSR – Jaguar XKR – TBD / TBD
  • 40 Robertson Racing – Doran Design Ford GT – David Robertson / Andrea Robertson / David Murry
  • 44 Flying Lizard Motorsports – Porsche 911 GT3 RSR – Darren Law / Seth Neiman
  • 45 Flying Lizard Motorsports – Porsche 911 GT3 RSR – Joerg Bergmeister / Patrick Long
  • 61 Risi Competizione – Ferrari 430 GT – Giancarlo Fisichella / Toni Vilander / Mika Salo
  • 62 Risi Competizione – Ferrari 430 GT – Jaime Melo / Gianmaria Bruni
  • 75 JaguarRSR – Jaguar XKR – Paul Gentilozzi / Marc Goossens / Ryan Dalziel
  • 90 BMW Rahal Letterman Racing – BMW M3 GT – Dirk Müller / Joey Hand / TBD
  • 92 BMW Rahal Letterman Racing – BMW M3 GT – Bill Auberlen / Tommy Milner / TBD
  • 01 Extreme Speed Motorsports – Ferrari 430 GT – Scott Sharp / Johannes van Overbeek / Dominik Farnbacher
  • 02 Extreme Speed Motorsports – Ferrari 430 GT – Ed Brown / Guy Cosmo / Joao Barbosa
  • 04 Robertson Racing – Doran Design Ford GT – Anthony Lazzaro / Rob Bell / David Murry

GTH

  • Porsche Motorsports North America – Porsche 911 GT3R Hybrid – Timo Bernhard / Romain Dumas / Mike Rockenfeller

LMPC

  • 36 Genoa Racing – Oreca FLM09 – TBD / TBD
  • 52 PR1/ Mathiasen Motorsports – Oreca FLM09 – Ricardo Gonzalez / Luis Diaz
  • 55 Level 5 Motorsports – Oreca FLM09 – Scott Tucker / Christophe Bouchut
  • 73 Intersport Racing – Oreca FLM09 – Antonio Downs / Lucas Downs / Matt Downs
  • 89 Intersport Racing – Oreca FLM09 – Kyle Marcelli / Chapman Ducote / David Ducote
  • 95 Level 5 Motorsports – Oreca FLM09 – Scott Tucker / Andy Wallace
  • 99 Green Earth Team Gunnar – Oreca FLM09 – Gunnar Jeannette / Christian Zugel

GTC

  • 23 Alex Job Racing – Porsche 911 GT3 Cup – Bill Sweedler / Romeo Kapudija / Jan-Dirk Lueders
  • 28 911 Design – Porsche 911 GT3 Cup – Loren Beggs / Doug Baron
  • 48 Paul Miller Racing – Porsche 911 GT3 Cup – Bryce Miller / Luke Hines
  • 54 Black Swan Racing – Porsche 911 GT3 Cup – Timothy Pappas / Jeroen Bleekemolen / Sebastiaan Bleekemolen
  • 63 TRG – Porsche 911 GT3 Cup – Henri Richard / Andy Lally / Duncan Ende
  • 69 WERKS II Racing – Porsche 911 GT3 Cup – Robert Rodriguez / Galen Bieker
  • 88 Velox Motorsports – Porsche 911 GT3 Cup – Shane Lewis / Jerry Vento

LMP1 = 7  LMP2 = 5  GT1 = 1  GT2 = 17  GTH = 1  LMPC = 7  GTC = 7  Total = 45