The debut of Lotus Jetalliance!
First appearance as a factory team under a new name
First appearance of the new Lotus Evora GT2
First appearance in the Intercontinental Le Mans Cup-ILMC
. . . and all that in Spa this weekend!
Things will finally get under way this weekend! The Jetalliance Racing team, based in Lower Austria will celebrate several premières at the same time in Belgium: the team will appear as “Lotus Jetalliance” – and hence as the world’s only factory team of the traditional British marque in the GT class, two new Lotus Evora GT2 will be entered for the first time, and it will be their first time on the starting grid of a race of the Intercontinental Le Mans Cup, or – for short – ILMC!
And team owner Lukas Lichtner-Hoyer is raving: “The most professional project we’ve taken on in motorsports so far.”
The “1000 km of Spa” is the second of a total of seven rounds in the ILMC and a race rich in tradition and speed.
Things will then move on with even more tradition at the 24 hours of Le Mans – and these ought to become the outright season highlight for Lotus Jetalliance as well.
The official test day in France two weeks ago was at the same time also the rollout for the two Lotus Evora GT2. Lichtner-Hoyer too turned a few laps in the process: “Technologically and visually a corker. Lotus has really done a super job. The test day was very positive, we’ve been running both race cars, they hold the track well. In the end we were trailing the front runners by just under nine seconds. That’s not a lot over the 13 km long high-speed circuit of Le Mans – especially since we still have plenty of headroom to the front and haven’t even been able to work on the setup yet. The car has the potential to be a winner. That’s not something to be taken for granted considering that these were its first kilometres and that the car was still being drafted on the drawing board just three months ago.”
Team manager Jan Kalmar showed himself to be very satisfied as well: “The test day at Le Mans was much more pleasant than we all could have expected. After all these were the first kilometres whatsoever for these new cars. This makes me very confident for the future of our project.”
The driver line-up is also NEW: Johnny MOWLEM (GBR), James ROSSITER (GBR) and Jonathan HIRSCHI (SUI) will be driving the Evora with the pro line-up, Martin RICH (GBR) and Oskar SLINGERLAND (NED) will be sitting in the Evora with the amateur line-up!
Mowlem is definitely a top man who has established himself in all international series and who, above all, has a lot of experience on the strength of being a frequent competitor at Le Mans. His British compatriot Rossiter in turn has won, among other things, the British Formula Renault championship and was a test driver for Super Aguri in Formula 1 in 2008. And the young Swiss Hirschi too was immediately able to showcase his pace last season – in his first year in the FIA GT1 World Championship.
While these three drivers are new to the team, the two amateurs already have a past with Jetalliance Racing. With Rich, for instance, a second place overall at the 24 hours of Silverstone and several podium finishes in the French endurance championship VdeV could be clinched among other things last year.
“We’ve remained loyal to our policy regarding our choice of driver line-up. That is to say that we have a good combination of professionals and amateurs. I really hope for a lot from our new drivers”, Lukas Lichtner-Hoyer said, who has decided against being active himself for the time being: The airline business is on the way back up following two years in crisis, as CEO he is urgently needed at Jetalliance.
And the objectives for the debut race this weekend? “The project is in its very infancy, we still have a lot of work ahead of us. Because the development stage isn’t completed by any means, the cars have to be made steadfast for the long distance. We want to take steps forward from race to race. For us Spa will be a first determination of where we stand”, Lichtner-Hoyer said.