By competing in the ILMC race at Spa the new Lotus Jetalliance team has fought its first battle – now the next big goals are pending. Team owner Lukas Lichtner-Hoyer, who was not active for the first time in a long while for business reasons, talks about the première and looks to the future . . .
A première without the team owner – how hard was it having to observe it all from afar?
LLH: “No question, there’s a lot of my lifeblood in it. The first outing of a newly developed car is a great thing. Of course I very much would have liked to be there – especially in an active role within the cockpit. But since business is picking up once again after two-and-a-half years my presence as the CEO of Jetalliance is strongly required. Our aviation business takes priority.”
How satisfied were you with the outing and the outcome?
LLH: “When you consider that the Lotus Evora GTE has been completely newly developed and built in record time I’m not dissatisfied. We brought one car to the finish – that’s no matter of course in a six-hour race.”
How will things progress at Lotus Jetalliance from now on?
LLH: “Work on the cars’ development continues to be ongoing. We will take part in the remaining ILMC events, but now the focus is on the Le Mans 24h, everything is being geared towards it. Both cars are currently at Hethel, the new testing area of Lotus, where the gremlins we were able to detect at Spa will be eradicated. The entire crew is on location and on duty almost round the clock.”
Speaking of the crew, how may we envisage the team work in this regard?
LLH: “When you start a project like this it’s probably always like a motley crowd at the beginning. Getting acquainted, the automatisms – all that takes its time. After all we do have staff members from eleven nations. But by now the co-operation with Lotus and all the subcontracted suppliers is already running very smoothly – also thanks to our team manager Jan Kalmar.”
What can be expected from Lotus Jetalliance at Le Mans?
LLH: “For us the time factor is the problem. In comparison with the competition we’ve still had far too few kilometres with the cars. It would have been ideal, of course, if this race would be held not before autumn – and not as early as the beginning of June. But I’m in good spirits nevertheless, especially since both cars will yet complete a 24-hour test in Hethel beforehand.”
But there is also work going on regarding a supporting programme for Le Mans . . .
LLH: “We’ve always been eager to offer our partners an optimum marketing platform ever since our motorsport commitment started. At Le Mans it’ll be no different this time either. We’ve put up a unique hospitality in the paddock for all our sponsors – best of all Orange and Jetalliance. There clients and friends of the company will be able to follow the race live, tremble with excitement and keep their fingers crossed.”
Which still begs the question of the driver line-up . . .
LLH: “The so called pro car will be manned with James Rossiter, Johnny Mowlem and Jonathan Hirschi, the car with the amateur line-up will feature Martin Rich, Oskar Slingerland and Britain’s John Hartshorne, whom we were able to sign just a few days ago.”
The name Lichtner-Hoyer is missing once again . . .
LLH: “Yes, unfortunately. But business aviation, as already mentioned, takes absolute priority right now. Soon however a time will come when I’m going to participate actively in a car again.”