Detractors will tell you that there's little to be applied from Formula One racing to the cars we drive, but what about the cars most of us could only dream of driving? We're talking about supercars from the likes of Ferrari and McLaren – two hugely successful F1 racing teams that have successfully made the transition into building exotic sports cars for the road. And soon there may be one more.
That would be the Lotus F1 Team, which is rumored to be working on a sports car project of its own. Now we know what you might be thinking: Lotus already makes sports cars. Indeed they do, only the F1 team has nothing more to do with the automaker behind the Exige and Evora than the name they share. Today the team (formerly known as Toleman, Benetton and Renault) is owned by Genii Capital, whose chairman Gerald Lopez recently confirmed the rumors to Auto Motor und Sport: "We are going to develop a carbon chassis for a sports car that can be built in large quantities.... But this has nothing to do with Formula 1."
With little to nothing in the way of details available, the circulating rumors had tied the venture to on-again, off-again Italian auto marque De Tomaso. But our source at ATS (which recently bought the rights to the De Tomaso name following Gian Mario Rossignolo's aborted attempt to revive it) firmly denied the prospect of any such collaboration. Spokesmen for the Lotus F1 Team would not divulge any information; neither would the press office for parent company Genii Capital, leaving the door wide open to speculation once again.
Connecting the dots, what we're left to surmise at this point is that Genii is eager to capitalize on the technologies developed by the F1 team it owns in order to begin recuperating some of the $130 million it has sunk into the team. Without the wherewithal to bring its own sports car to market, and with De Tomaso off the table, exactly to whom it expects to sell the carbon-fiber chassis it is apparently developing remains a big question mark. But if it aims to follow in its namesake's footsteps, we wouldn't be surprised to see some Lotus racing technology find its way into a new road car in the near future.