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Lotus Racing has formally announced its motorsports program for the 2012 season, where we’ll see the highly anticipated Exige R-GT make its race debut in the FIA European Rally Championship. In addition, the British automaker will enter this year’s European Le Mans Series in an Evora GTE and will also be supporting drivers in the CIK-FIA Under-18 Kart World Championship.
The Exige R-GT (pictured above) will sport Lotus’ iconic black and gold color scheme and will be piloted by former Portuguese champion and SWRC driver Bernardo Sousa. The Exige R-GT is expected to go through its final testing runs next week before its submission to the FIA for homologation. Lotus will build a total of 10 cars this year, with seven of them going to the official team and European drivers.
Johnny Mowlem will be one of three drivers in the Evora GTE that will be racing in the European Le Mans Series’ GTE class. The other two drivers will be announced shortly. The team will be ran by Gianni Giudici, who ran an Evora GT4 in the European Blancpain Series last year with a runner-up finish.
“Gianni Giudici has long been one of Lotus Racing’s most important customers, and creating this official partnership makes perfect sense. He has been very successful in endurance racing, and has the capability to run the car at a very high level. With Lotus’ technical support this will be a good combination for the European platform,” said Claudio Berro, Director of Lotus Racing.
Lastly, the Lotus Racing Karts team are preparing for the 2012 CIK-FIA Under-18 Karting World Championship that will begin on July 8th. The Lotus Racing Kart is built in Italy and “is arguably the most fun, raw and inspirational Lotus ever to hit the race track,” according to Lotus Racing. The top three drivers in Lotus Racing Karts will be rewarded with a fully-sponsored Formula Monza test with the Lotus Formula Juniors team. They will also be afforded a go in Lotus’ F1-inspired Type 125 customer car, plus a two-day test with the Lotus Racing Karts team and a tour of the Group Lotus factory and facilities in Hethel, England.
Lotus has announced it will unveil a “special edition of a special edition” Evora at the upcoming 2012 Geneva Auto Show. Specific details haven’t yet been released, but it’s believed the car will be a Team Lotus F1 version of the Evora GTE.
Now photos of what is believed to be that exact car have now hit the net. Taken at a recent Lotus test event at the Jerez circuit in Spain the livery design bears a striking resemblance towards the Lotus Motorsports and Alex Job Racing GTE competing in the American Le Mans Series.
While the Evora S makes 345 hp from a supercharged 3.5-liter V6, the GTE ups the power rating to 444-hp while shedding more than 230 pounds. The quickest street Lotus ever, the Evora GTE looks fast even when standing still with its new Team Lotus F1 livery.
Stay tuned to what Lotus has in store at the upcoming 2012 Geneva Auto Show, as a rumored Evora convertible will also bow at the show.
GALLERY: F1-Inspired Lotus Evora GTE Special Edition
Lotus is preparing for the Geneva debut of its latest Lotus Evora GTE with Formula 1 Champion Kimi Raikkonen in tow.
While specs and information on the new Team Lotus F1 inspired sports car are limited, the Evora GTE concept revealed last year is already a winner in the looks department. Last year, our editor-in-chief Colum Wood got to experience the Evora GTE first hand when it unveiled at the Pebble Beach Concours d’Elegance and said the “Lotus Evora GTE Road Car concept makes the Porsche GT3 look like a chick car.”
A blend between a standard Evora and the GTE-class racing cars, the road-going Evora GTE not only produces 420-hp, but also dropped some 165 pounds from the standard model. Now with the new F1 tie-in, we should expect unique racing livery and extra hardware to deliver a more focused driving experience.
Look out for its official debut on March 6th at the Geneva Motor Show.
GALLERY: Lotus Evora GTE
Knowing that the 444-hp Lotus Evora GTE will be making its way to America makes us giddy. So naturally, when we saw more photos of the most powerful Lotus ever made, we had to share them with the rest of the world.
Up until now, we’ve basically been treated to seeing the Evora GTE under the typical auto show floor lighting. Now we get to see the retina-burning, bright yellow in its natural environment with its 3.5L V6 powerplant ready to rock. These photos really show off what the Evora GTE’s all about, the overall wider vehicle sporting plenty of carbon fiber throughout.
The GTE weighs in slightly over 230-lbs lighter than the standard Evora model and features Lotus’s Automated Manual Transmission (AMT) racing gearbox. Forged center-lock wheels adorn each corner of the street-legal racer, while the inside packs lightweight carbon fiber Recaro seats.
Now we’ll just anxiously await to hear its price tag.
GALLERY: Lotus Evora GTE
The Evora GTE is the most powerful Lotus to date, making 444 horsepower with a 3.5-liter v6, but track-bred performance isn’t quite enough to make it pop.
Instead Lotus signed a deal with rapper/producer Swizz Beatz to collaborate on a special line of cars that have hiphop swag. This isn’t the first time an automaker resorted to the rap community for extra buzz, as Funkmaster Flex and Ford had a tie-up earlier in the decade.
Lotus chose the Alvin Ailey’s Opening Night Gala to show off their chrome-adorned special edition Evora GTE. Aside from serous horsepower, the car gets an automated manual transmission and carbon fiber throughout the body, good for shaving off anther 231 pounds.