Jarno Trulli took time-out from his F1 2010 preparations this week to help develop the Lotus Evora Cup race car, which was debuted recently at the Autosport International Show in Birmingham.
Trulli, who will of course race for the new Lotus F1 team this season, which incidentally will unveil its car later today in London, gave the Evora Cup its first shakedown at a wintery Snetterton circuit on Wednesday and Thursday this week.
Lotus Motorsport - which it should be remembered is pretty much a separate entity to Tony Fernandes' new Malaysian 'Lotus F1 Racing' squad - is conducting an 'extensive development programme' with the Evora Cup race car and Trulli and his race engineer, Gianluca Pisanello were on hand at the first test to assist with that work.
"I have enjoyed driving the road going Lotus Evora very much and I believe that the Evora Cup will be a very competitive race car package," said Trulli. "It was very rewarding to be the first to drive the Evora Cup race car even though the snowy conditions at Snetterton were fairly challenging at times!
"The car will continue to be developed now with new updates coming soon, but even after the initial drive it is obvious that the car has huge potential.
"I look forward to working with Lotus Motorsport in developing the car further and I know that my years of motorsport experience will help make the Evora Cup race car even better."
In the past a number of Lotus F1 drivers have successfully raced or assisted in the development of Lotus Cars including F1 World champions Jim Clark and Nigel Mansell.
"It is a privilege to work on the development of the Evora Cup race car with such an experienced driver and engineering team as Jarno Trulli and Gianluca Pisanello and I believe that this collaboration will produce a great race car for a range of motorsport applications," added Claudio Berro, director of motorsport at Group Lotus plc.
"It is a very exciting time for Lotus and I am honoured to be leading the motorsport programmes at Lotus, starting with the Lotus Evora Cup racing car and race series."
The Evora Cup race car is being marketed as 'an evocative sports car that will offer a great platform to race in high level motor sport'. The GT4 race car will go on sale starting at £120,000 excluding taxes for the sprint racing version, with the endurance specification race car £150,000 excluding taxes.
The final design, aero package and technical specifications will be presented at the Geneva Motorshow next month.