One of Britain's most successful property investors has paid a reported £1 million for a 2 per cent stake in the Lotus F1 team this weekend, according to media reports on Monday.
Andrew Ruhan had joined the board of the team in February but denied at the time that he had bought into the business or that his position on the board was a precursor to his making an investment.
But Gerard Lopez, the founder of private equity firm Genii Capital which owns Lotus, has now confirmed that Ruhan has bought a piece of the business while stressing that the property tycoon "is not a large or a controlling shareholder in the team."
Lopez went on to reveal the size of Ruhan's initial stake in the team to the Daily Telegraph'
s F1 business journalist Christian Sylt.
"He is a friend and a business partner in some substantial real estate developments, loves cars, racing and has purchased - if I am not mistaken - 2 per cent of the equity to be on the board and feel involved," Lopez explained. "For sure, not a substantial deal for either party."
Ruhan himself is a keen amateur sports car racer, and won the GT Cup championship in 2011.
Lopez described him as "a fellow gentleman racer who was nominated to the board as we replaced at least one Lotus Cars director."
Lopez had said earlier this year that Genii Capital was open to expressions of interest from any suitable potential investors, saying that "if there are investors who want to enter with some shares, we are ready."
The team's latest filed accounts say that it made a cash loss of £20.8 million in 2011 on turnover of £115.7 million.
But that was before Kimi Raikkonen arrived at the Enstone-based team and helped spark it into a resurgence in 2012 that is being further built on in 2013 with a run of three second places to add to their victory in the first race of the season in Australia.