We have achieved our 80th win in F1™, made a valiant effort in the GP2 championship, scooped the GP3 title, shown our mettle in LMP1 our promise in LMP2, and clearly demonstrated our GT prowess. Yet that’s still not the whole story, for we were a force to be reckoned with in the World Series by Renault, took the German ATS Formel 3 championship by storm plus, more Lotus fans than ever took to the track in the global Lotus Cup series. It’s true to say we’ve been busier than ever!
Wow! It’s been a heck of a year for the Lotus motorsport family competing around the world in 2012. More drama than ever, at every level of racing its been an edge-of-your-seat ride. Formula 1™ has delivered a thrilling season with our team and drivers putting in a fantastic effort from start to finish. Both drivers had their share of podium finishes and fought bravely earning valuable points for the team. However, it wasn’t until Abu Dhabi that Lotus secured its 80th F1™ win. It was Kimi Räikkönen who raged home at the Yas Marina circuit having capitalised on Lewis Hamilton’s early retirement in the McLaren and staving off competition from Ferrari’s Fernando Alonso who finished behind Kimi in second place. What was Kimi’s nineteenth win, aided the teams ascension and Lotus F1™ ended the season up one place from 2011 coming fourth in the Constructors Championship. Kimi Räikkönen secured the third spot in the Driver’s Championship, where Romain Grosjean came eighth.
The thrills and spills of racing were also clearly demonstrated throughout the season in GP2, where the battle for Lotus was fought hard right up to the race finale. Despite a dogged fight and a second place finish in race one for Esteban Gutiérrez, Lotus just missed out on the series title. Never-the-less the team came in second overall, and Esteban claimed third place in the drivers standings with James Calado coming fifth.
In GP3 however, we followed our own trend with Lotus GP winning the GP3 series title for the third year running. This was confirmed when Daniel Abt took victory in race one at the season finale at the Monza circuit. Together with Conor Daly’s points for fourth place in race one, the team wrapped up the title with one race in hand!
World Series by Renault (Formula 3.5)
The World Series by Renault (Formula 3.5) was another competition where Lotus proved a formidable opponent taking the podium in the third round at Spa, thanks to the skilful driving of danish driver Marco Sørensen. In fact, he had a great season and finishing second at the Nürburgring delivered him the rookie classification. With essential points in the bag, Lotus continued to deliver consistent performances both at Silverstone and the Hungaroring rounds. The team put in a fantastic effort all season, and testimony to their hard work, stamina and tenacity on track, Lotus made a celebrated 5th position overall.
German Formula 3 Series (ATS FORMEL 3 CUP)
More celebrations followed in the German F3 series, ATS FORMEL 3 where the up and coming Lotus talent really had something to say. In the first round at Zandvoort Lotus driver Jimmy Ericksson battled hard and took a much deserved win in race one. Teammate Kimiya Sato followed suit in the third race and romped home for the top spot. 2 victories during the first round was a good portent for the rest of the season.
Both drivers went onto secure wins in the following rounds where some impressive performances led them to outpace their rivals. The Hockenheim season finale finished in style when Ericksson secured the coveted ATS Formel 3 title. Congratulations Jimmy, good job!
Lotus also showed its stamina in the LMP1 and LMP2 series. For LMP1, Lotus team Rebellion Racing had a phenomenal season, which saw them crowned as 2012 FIA World Endurance Champions, taking home the endurance trophy for private LMP1 teams. It took the 12hrs of Sebring for them to get into their stride and by the 6hr race at Spa, the second round of the championship, they celebrated first and second place for the privateer teams, coming fifth and sixth overall. In the 24 Heures-du-Mans the oldest and most prestigious endurance automobile race in the world again Rebellion rose to the challenge, finishing the highest place petrol car and topping the privateer field. Overall, they came in fourth place, two places up from last year’s ILMH assault. The season continued in a similar vein where successful wheel to wheel battles saw them collect precious points and claim a well deserved title.
Lotus LMP2 also made great viewing. This was its first year in endurance racing and the team successfully completed the season delivering a commendable performance. Former F1™ test driver and Lotus works driver James Rossiter joined the team and in the 6hrs of Spa qualified the car a mere 4 hundredths of a second behind the pole sitter, finishing the race in eleventh. position. The team went on to take the checkered flag in sixth and eight place in Brazil and had a good season end in the 6hrs of Shanghai with James Rossiter delivering the best qualifying result of the season. We look forward to seeing the team back in action and aiding their LMP2 offensive for 2013.
Lotus Racing, the motorsport division of Group Lotus really has been in full support mode the year round, aiding competing teams around the world to victory as the demand for Lotus Racing’s GT cars grows.
They were on hand when the newly developed Evora GTC raced to triumph in the Britcar MSA British Endurance Champions competiion this year. Having secured the class honours in August, The Bullrun Team competed in the final round of the Championship at Donington Park where they were crowned the winners. A great result for a great car and a great team.
Across the pond, another great team Lotus Racing is happy to work with is Alex Job Racing (AJR) who has been making strides in the American Le Mans Series (ALMS) with the Evora GTE. Notably, the team came sixth in Virginia, and enjoyed a seventh place finish at Road America in August. Throughout the season the team have developed the Evora, and are excited for next season when they can demonstrate its full capability. We look forward to seeing them in March next year when the 2013 American Le Mans Series will kick-off at Sebring International Raceway with the Mobil 1 Twelve Hours of Sebring on Saturday, March 16.
Meanwhile, the Evora GT4, has been out in-force around the world racing successfully in the Brazilian GT, the Iberian Supercar Trophy, Campeonato de España/IBER GT, Campeonato de Portugal GT, the Dutch GT championship and 24-hour races in Dubai, Barcelona and at Silverstone. The Evora GT4 also competed with Lotus Sport UK in the 2012 Avon Tyres British GT Championship. Oulton Park was where it all kicked off earlier in the year, and we started strong with 3 podium finishes from 2 races, proving again just how competitive the Evora is. The second round held in May at the Nurburgring also left the team on a high as after topping times in the free practice, drivers Sailesh Bolisetti and Phil Glew flew home to victory in arguably the most stylish car on the grid! Lotus Sport UK in 5th position overall in the championship.
Lotus Racing Karts
Lotus is all about fun, and one of the best ways to enjoy the spirit of our company is with Lotus Karting. This year we announced we were taking up the Karting mantle, the main aim to develop driving talent from an early age. With participants at the ready and Karts that look, well just amazing, the CIK-FIA KF1 Karting World Championship got off to a good start and our professionals of tomorrow continue to cut their teeth earning reward along the way. To all our youngsters, keep doing what you are doing, we’re watching!
Karting draws as much interest as Rallying, and following extensive development the Exige R-GT rally car finally made its competition debut in the FIA European Rally in Madeira, Portugal this year under the helm of Lotus works driver Bernardo Sousa. Much to the delight of the fans he also demonstrated just how awesome this car is at the 2012 Goodwood Festival of Speed, where Lotus was celebrated as the marque of choice.
So, looking ahead, 2013 has already a lot to live up to, for Lotus’ presence in global motorsport in 2012 has been nothing less than dominant. Whilst we have strived for podiums in every race and worked our way up the grids, we have undertaken many competitions, raced in many classes and at multiple levels. Our fan base has never been more active and with black and gold the colours to support once more, Lotus enthusiasts are experiencing the spirit of Lotus on track in what is the ever popular Lotus Cup Series. With 7 series racing around the world, we welcome more of you into this unique competition and hope to see the grids continue to flourish for 2013, and with the Exige V6 Cup now making its way to all you lucky owners, we are sure to see much in the way of motorsport entertainment on the grid as the prowess and muscularity of these cars really pack a punch. In fact, look out for the new Motorsport brochure where you can learn of the new Exige and the newly developed Exige V6 Cup R Range, which is already drawing much interest. To all of you that race in the Cup around the world, a whole hearted thank you and to all the winners, well done.
So, whilst celebrating a great year, we also say goodbye to IndyCar where we have stepped down as official engine supplier to the IZOD Indycar Series. Never-the-less we look forward to 2013, when we hope to further improve on our big strides made this year, see more podiums, and welcome more Lotus drivers and fans into the sport.