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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.
After having showcased numerous new concept cars at the past several auto shows, one might expect that Lotus had dried up its reserve of new car news. Not so. At the Frankfurt Auto Show the British manufacturer had on display six new or newish models. Many won’t make their way to North America, but some will – including one particularly exciting sports car.
GALLERY: Lotus Evora GTE
To find out more, watch the video after the jump: