The prototype belongs to an independent German team that ran a Lotus chassis in the LMP2 category last year, but was granted license by the FIA and ACO to step up to the top-tier LMP1 category to dice it with the front-running hybrids from Audi, Porsche and Toyota this year. Unfortunately, the team – which licenses the Lotus name from the automaker, much as the F1 team does – faced some setbacks. Not the least of those delays resulted from a mid-stream switch in engine suppliers from the Audi-sourced, naturally aspirated V8 it was originally set to use to a new turbocharged V6 from Advanced Engine Research.
As a result it wasn't ready for the Silverstone race that kicked off this season's World Endurance Championship in April. Nor was it ready for the second round at Spa in May or not for the headline event this weekend at Le Mans, but it aims to be on the track at the next round in Austin.
The Lotus P1/01 will be driven by former F1 driver Chrisitjan Albers, along with Le Mans veterans Christophe Bouchut, Thomas Holzer, Pierre Kaffer and James Rossiter. "For sure, it's strange to be here and not race," said Albers, "but the team is definitely remaining positive about the rest of the season, anything can happen in this sport."
The all-new Lotus P1/01 took centre stage at the iconic 24 hours of Le Mans event today as the LMP1 L class car was unveiled to the media and public for the very first time.
The Le Mans Innovation Centre played host to the much anticipated unveiling where Lotus LMP drivers Christijan Albers, Christophe Bouchut and Pierre Kaffer were on hand to do the honours and pull the cover from the stunning Paul White designed car.
Delays resulting from an unavoidable change in engine supplier prevent the team from compet-ing at the world famous race this weekend, much to the disappointment of the team and the drivers. Despite this, the unveiling was an enormously proud moment for the team, the iconic LMP 1 class represents the highest class of sports car racing, attracting some of the best drivers in the world and is usually dominated by world famous manufacturers.
Commenting at the launch, Lotus LMP Head of Operations, Boris Bermes said: "It's really heart-warming to see so many supporters and fans of the team here in Le Mans. It's difficult to be here and not compete, we have a team of very talented, very competitive individuals and all they want to do is race. They really did everything they could to try and meet the homologation deadline but now we focus all our efforts on testing ahead of Austin in September. I'm looking forward to showing our fans and our competitors what the car can do in the not too distant fu-ture."
The Lotus LMP drivers in attendance made it clear that they are really looking forward to getting behind the wheel of the P1/01, former Formula 1 driver Christijan Albers said: "The P1/01 has awesome potential and I can't wait to see what the it can do. For sure, it's strange to be here and not race but the team is definitely remaining positive about the rest of the season, anything can happen in this sport."
To follow the Lotus LMP Team go to the newly launched website: www.lotus-lmp.com.
The Lotus LMP1 car is a completely new car built to meet the new WEC regulations for the LMP1 L privateer racing category. The Lotus LMP1 car was designed by Chief Designer Paul White and is powered by an AER (Advanced Engine Research) V6 turbo.
Le Mans Sportscar Prototype 1 (LMP 1)
Carbon composites monocoque with CFK crash elements front and rear
Aluminium 6 cylinder, 90 degree V angle Turbocharged using one turbocharger per bank.
Cylinder Heads: 2, Aluminium with 4 valves per cylinder
Fuel Injection System: GDI with 2 Synchronous High pressure
Fuel pumps Fuel System: Life Racing using Bosch Fuel Injectors and Life Racing fuel pumps
Ignition System: Bosch Motorsport Coils and Bosch Spark plugs
Throttle System: Independent drive by wire per bank
Engine Management: Life Racing F90
Carbon fibre brake disc and pads
6 gear sequential gearbox with pedal shift
BBS fogged rims 13 by 18 inches front and rear
Michelin 31/71 - 18 X Radial
independent wheel suspension with adjustable dampers
lightweight carbon composite with adjustable rear wing profie
Gasoline Shell LM24 (2014)
Tank capacity 68 l