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Lotus is set to shake up the sports car industry at the Paris Auto Show on Thursday when it unveils numerous new vehicles and concepts, while announcing new industry partnerships and racing programs.
From Indy Car to the Lotus Cup, much of the details have already been discussed, but Lotus has just announced two new exciting motorsports programs. The first is a Lotus LMP2 car that will first compete in 2011 before preparing for the 24 Hours of Le Mans in 2012. It’s not year clear how Lotus will be involved in the project as most automakers competing in LMP2 use a recognized chassis and their own engine. The only problem is, Lotus gets many of its engines from Toyota. Current LMP2 rules allow for a maximum of 3.4-liters and 8-cylinders for custom engines, or 4.0-liters for homologated production car engines, while forced induction motors are only allowed to be 2.0-liters and a maximum of six-cylinders. Where this leaves Lotus is anyone’s guess.
In addition to LMP2, Lotus will also build a GT2 race car, “based on one of our eagerly anticipated future road cars, set to be unveiled at the Paris Motor Show.” This could mean the new Elite, some other model, or even just the Evora S (which hasn’t technically received its auto show debut). After all, Lotus U.S.A. head Arnie Johnson has already confirmed with AutoGuide that the Evora can be delivered in anywhere from GT4 to GT2 trim, with a GT2 version sporting a Cosworth-tuned engine with 470-hp.
Also planned to help Lotus promote its racing and street programs are a new test track next to the Lotus factory in Hethel, while the British sports car brand will also launch the Lotus Driving Academy at its headquarters, followed by facilities and programs in the UAE and in Eastern Europe. Further expansion of the program will see Driving Academy’s set up in the U.S., Japan, Moscow, Malaysia and then a second U.S. facility.
AutoGuide will bring you full coverage of the big announcements and unveilings at the Paris Auto Show Lotus press conference on Thursday, September 30th.
Official release after the jump:
Debuting in an unfinished forum at the Geneva Auto Show earlier this year, Lotus how now officially unveiled the Evora Cup GT4 race car at at the Pebble Beach Concours d’Elegance in Monterey, CA. And judging by the tires, this car has already seen plenty of track time.
Built to compete in the FIA GT4 series in Europe, Lotus U.S.A. head Arnie Johnson confirmed that the car can be delivered in anywhere from GT4 to GT2 trim. The GT4 car on display uses a 360-hp 4.0-liter V6, but Cosworth can increase that number as high as 470-hp.
Built to run in its own Lotus Evora Cup series, it can also compete in any GT4 racing series and according to Johnson the company has already sold six of the $160,000 race cars this week.
But the most exciting news might be chatter we heard amongst some Lotus folks at the booth, indicating that Lotus will look to field the car in the Grand Am series here in North America – likely next year.