Only a couple of years ago, it looked like the top tier of prototype endurance racing was in trouble. Peugeot shut down its program, leaving the LMP1 category all to Audi to dominate. Only six cars entered the Petit Le Mans in 2012, and the season was cut short. But the top class in the FIA World Endurance Championship has since blossomed. And it only looks poised to grow further.

Audi and Toyota will each be back on the grid this season, joined by Porsche. But the latest news has Lotus stepping up to the big leagues also. (Well, sorta: the German-run squad uses the Lotus name and colors, but has no more to do with the automaker than the Formula One team of the same name.)

The Lotus LMP1 will be based on the same Lola-based T129 chassis used until now in the LMP2 class, with former F1 driver Christijan Albers leading the driver lineup. In addition to Audi, Toyota and Porsche, the solitary Lotus entry will also compete against privateer Rebellion Racing in a nine-car LMP1 grid throughout the season.


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    • 1 Second Ago
  • 14 Comments
      AnthonyL
      • 10 Months Ago
      Lotus cant even pay their F1 team. What makes them think this is a good idea?
        Malou H
        • 10 Months Ago
        @AnthonyL
        agree anthony.
        Cayman
        • 10 Months Ago
        @AnthonyL
        It seems that there are three different companies. There is the Lotus that makes production vehicles, the British based Lotus F1 team that simply uses Lotus' logo and colors and this German based LMP team that again uses Lotus' logo and colors.
          Malou H
          • 10 Months Ago
          @Cayman
          Doesn't matter if a company has 10 companies someone should be looking out for the namesake. And not allowing the majority of POOR unprofessional decisions of MANY companies to bare any lotus logos. ANY. Its poor decisions that make your company look horrible. You can almost taste lotus now when you say it. Its getting bad.
        djpatrick35
        • 10 Months Ago
        @AnthonyL
        Lotus also had a disastrous Indycar season in 2012 as an engine builder where each team except for one paid to get out from under their contract. The only team that did stay with them didn't have the money to get out. I'm not sure if this is a good idea. FIA-WEC P1 second only to F1 in money spent to wins. I'm always for more endurance racing teams, but I'm not sure if this is a good idea.
      GFB
      • 10 Months Ago
      Yep. Lotus (the original company) has sold its soul to the devil(s). This new German team couldn't have paid that much for the rights to the team livery. Lotus just got lucky that two F1 teams were bidding for its logo rights a few years ago. Also, in its heyday, a Lotus with a Lola chassis would have been unthinkable. How times have changed. Lotus as a company has been rudderless since Colin Chapman departed. It could have become the British Porsche but its overseers lacked creative passion (much less competence) in their management of the marque.
      pwr2lbs
      • 10 Months Ago
      Little known fact. In ancient Greece, Lotus was the god of creative accounting.
      neilyadig
      • 10 Months Ago
      competition!
      Justin L
      • 10 Months Ago
      Trying to figure out what season was cut short...
        OscarUniform16
        • 10 Months Ago
        @Justin L
        European Le Mans Series in 2012. It had nothing to do with LMP1 numbers though. The class had been dropped before the season started.
          OscarUniform16
          • 10 Months Ago
          @OscarUniform16
          It's a rather poorly-researched and badly-written article.
          Justin L
          • 10 Months Ago
          @OscarUniform16
          I guess they're talking about ELMS. But their context was about PLM, supposedly... ha oh well.