Teaming up wit Alex Job Racing, Lotus is supporting a factory-backed entry win the GT class of the American Le Mans Series. Together, AJR and Lotus will field a 2012 Lotus Evora GTE running the same black-and-gold livery that has proliferated across the automaker's entire motorsport division.
AJR has a whopping 39 ALMS race wins and three GT titles to its credit, and will put IndyCar driver Townsend Bell and two-time ALMS Founders Cup winner Bill Sweedler behind the wheel for the full season that will kick off at Long Beach on April 14. Follow the jump for the full press release.
Lotus Motorsport, Alex Job Racing form GT partnership
Lotus is joining the ranks of legendary manufacturers to compete in the American Le Mans Series presented by Tequila Patrón. Lotus Motorsport and Alex Job Racing announced a partnership today that will see Lotus Alex Job Racing compete for the GT championship in the 2012 American Le Mans Series.
The factory-backed effort will feature a 2012 Lotus Evora GTE car beginning with the Tequila Patrón American Le Mans Series at Long Beach the weekend of April 14th. Lotus AJR will carry sponsorship from Battery Tender, William Rast and is a Yokohama-supported team for 2012. It will go head-to-head against factory and works-supported GT entries from the likes of BMW, Chevrolet, Ferrari and Porsche.
"This is doubly good news for the American Le Mans Series presented by Tequila Patrón," said Scott Atherton, ALMS President and CEO. "It's a pleasure to welcome the Lotus brand and its spectacular Evora to the most competitive GT class of racing in the world. But to have this factory-backed effort spearheaded by Alex Job – one of the most successful team owners in ALMS history – assures that this will be yet another championship-caliber entry to the GT class. I know that fans at each of our events will be enthralled when the AJR Lotus, complete with its iconic livery and Battery Tender sponsorship, hits the track."
Team principal Alex Job confirmed that IndyCar driver Townsend Bell will partner with two-time ALMS Founders Cup winner and AJR driver Bill Sweedler for the full season. The pair will attempt to build on Alex Job Racing's record of 39 ALMS race victories and three GT championships.
"I am excited to announce the racing partnership between Lotus and Alex Job Racing in North America," Job said. "Our efforts and ability to attract Lotus is a testament to the hard work that AJR has put in over the past several years. This partnership – along with our key sponsors William Rast, Battery Tender and Yokohama – represents a new chapter for our seasoned organization and for the ALMS.
"Bill Sweedler, Townsend Bell, and Colin Dyne (CEO, William Rast) played the key role in forging this long-term relationship with Lotus," he added. "We collectively look forward to representing this iconic sports car brand for years to come in GT racing."
"We are focused on winning," said Dany Bahar, CEO of Group Lotus. "Alex Job has one of the best records in sports car racing. We look forward to working together and developing a top-tier team over the coming years. Racing is a core component of the Lotus brand, and we are thrilled to have this new partnership to further enhance our winning racing heritage."
Atherton said that heritage will fit well in the ALMS paddock.
"Lotus has made a lot of racing news lately with significant programs announced in multiple categories of motorsport," he added. "After a full evaluation of all options we are proud they selected the ALMS for their factory-backed GT racing platform. This represents the best possible opportunity for Lotus to race what they sell and to showcase the technology and performance of their cars against the benchmark examples of the industry."
Bell's racing pedigree boasts an Indy Lights Championship in 2001 and Rookie of the Year honors in 2000. He finished fourth in the 2009 Indy 500 and was the first American to have a podium finish in the FIA Formula 3000 Series.
"We are delighted to welcome Townsend to the Lotus AJR family," Job continued. "Townsend comes from a distinguished career in IndyCar and open-wheel racing in the U.S. and Europe. His natural speed and personality will make for a successful partnership."
"I am really excited about 2012 and driving with Townsend," Sweedler said. "He will be a strong addition to the team. I had a fantastic time working with AJR for the last couple of years and am honored to continue as one of their drivers. Alex and his team run a first class operation just like Lotus. It will be a strong partnership."
Added Bell, "Having the chance to represent such a great brand like Lotus is simply awesome. The fact that I get to work with one of the best teams in sports car racing is icing on the cake. I'm really fired up to work with Lotus AJR and Bill in what will undoubtedly be a great adventure. Time to buckle up!"
Alex Job Racing is one of the most successful teams in sports car racing. The team's resume includes ALMS GT series championships in 2004, 2003, 2002; a record 22 consecutive ALMS GT pole positions; two class victories at the 24 Hours of Le Mans; and seven Sebring 12 Hours victories – 2010, 2004, 2003, 2002, 2001, 1999 and 1995.
The 2012 American Le Mans Series presented by Tequila Patrón begins with the 60th Anniversary Mobil 1 Twelve Hours of Sebring Fueled by Fresh from Florida on Saturday on March 17. The race, set for 10:30 a.m. ET and will be broadcast March 18 on ABC and shown live on ESPN3 or ALMS.com. Visit ALMS.com for information on tickets and area accommodations.