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Formula Renault 3.5

Lotus has joined forces with Gravity-Charouz Racing to compete in the 2012 World Series by Renault (FR 3.5 Series championship). The team will race under the Lotus name and with a Czech license. New Zealand’s Richie Stanaway and Danish driver Marco Sorensen will be at the wheel of Lotus’ two black and gold Formula Renault 3.5 single-seaters. Last year was the Czech team’s debut, finishing seventh in the standings and taking three podiums en route.

Lotus already backs official teams in Formula One, IndyCar, GP2, GP3, German F3 (ATS Formel 3 Cup) and German F.Masters, as well as GT racing, LMP2, and rallying. By joining the World Series by Renault, it confirms its commitment to supporting up-and-coming young talent and creating a staircase to Formula One, where the marque has enjoyed so much success.

Lotus’ driver line-up is a statement of intent: 20-year-old Richie Stanaway is the reigning German Formula 3 champion and won a GP3 race last year with Lotus-ART despite contesting just two race weekends. Marco Sorenson, 21, finished runner-up to Stanaway in German F3 last year.

Both drivers are on a steep learning curve which, they hope, will result in F1 glory. Competition in the World Series by Renault is famously tough, but the aim is to win races and finish Top 3 in the drivers’ and team rankings. This year’s Formula Renault 3.5 cars are lighter and more powerful than before, with added downforce. Inspired by F1, they will utilize DRS (Drag Reduction System), which will be a good learning experience for the drivers.

Following intensive preparation, Lotus will unveil its latest single-seaters for the first time during the World Series test at Paul Ricard in France on 13-14 March.

Richie Stanaway: “I met the team for the first time during the post-season tests at the end of last year. I was very impressed with the operation and the many changes that have taken place within the team and felt very comfortable with them. In 2012, we will be happy to represent Lotus, which also competes in Formula One. There will be a big battle in Formula Renault 3.5, as it’s shaping up to be a very competitive series and I am really looking forward to it.”

Marco Sorensen: “I am very optimistic after last year’s test. We have the support of Lotus and that’s great. I am looking forward to the new single-seater, which will be more powerful compared to last year’s specification. I can’t wait for the beginning of the season.”

Claudio Berro, Director of Lotus Racing: “After entering Formula One, GP2, GP3, the FIA World Endurance Championship and rallying, Lotus has confirmed its brand commitment to motorsport by joining the World Series by Renault. This is an important project for us. In every series we enter, we have strong drivers, a good background, and we aim to achieve the highest positions.

“Here we have a great driver line-up and are looking forward to an interesting and thrilling season. I think both Richie and Marco have a good chance of getting into F1 in the near future. The team was encouraged by their performance and reliability over the course of the postseason tests, which they managed without much experience of the car. We have plenty of confidence in them.”

Antonín Charouz, General Manager: “I am very happy that we can continue in the World Series by Renault with a highly professional team. Lotus has decided to join the Formula Renault 3.5 Series in cooperation with the Gravity-Charouz Racing team and we are happy to support the project with our Driver Development Program. Our aim is to finish among the Top 3 in the overall classification and we would like to have at least one of our drivers in the Top 3 in the drivers’ rankings. They both have a good chance to clinch some wins during the season.”

Robert Vavřík, Team Manager: “All the team members have great expectations. At the end of the 2011 season we already showed our drivers’ and team’s abilities. During the winter the team has worked hard and I would like to thank everyone involved. Ahead of us is a new challenge and I hope we can meet our expectations.”

Lotus press release

Posted: 02 March 2012
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