JUNE 6, 2009

The return of Team Lotus

Litespeed has announced that it intends to enter F1 in 2010 under the Team Lotus banner. The team says that a deal has been truck with David Hunt to use the name he has been trying to revive since 1995. The team has also agreed a deal to employ former Lotus F1 driver Johnny Herbert as a driver manager and commercial ambassador. The team will have a car designed by Mike Gascoyne and will operate out of the former Racing Technology Norfolk (RTN) facility in Hingham, Norfolk. This was previously the headquarters of the TOM'S GB team, but actually started out housing the Percival Hodges F1 powerboat team in the early 1980s. It was sold to TOM'S in 1987 and two years later was upgraded when TOM'S tried to lure Toyota into F1. A TOM'S F1 car was designed but never built and after Toyota rejected the idea of F1 Barnard went to Ferrari. TOM'S later sold the facility to Audi and it became known as RTN and built the Bentley sports cars which won the Le Mans 24 Hours. In 2007 it was sold to a company called Express Composites but proved to be bigger than was needed and closed down.

The team is to be run by Litespeed's Nino Judge, who will be team principal and Steve Kenchington, the director of engineering. Both men are former Team Lotus engineers.

"I am Norfolk born and bred," Mike Gascoyne says. "For me to continue my F1 career under the banner of the Team Lotus name and help to bring it back to its deserving place in the world championship is a fantastic feeling and something that I am extremely proud to be doing."