The Litespeed F3 operation has confirmed that, following its initial bid to restore the famous name to motorsport's top flight, it will retain an affiliation with Lotus F1 Racing that could establish the most direct route for gifted young drivers to reach grand prix racing.

Team principal Nino Judge has been appointed as head of the European arm of Lotus' new Driver Development Programme, which will be responsible for nurturing up-and-coming talent. And, to provide those drivers with the best chance of success, the team will campaign at least two International Class Dallaras in 2010, as well as continuing to run its own SLC design in the National Class.

"It is an honour for Litespeed to be affiliated with the Lotus F1 Racing team," Judge said of the relationship, "Even before they have competed in their first race, they are laying important foundations for the future, of which we are thrilled to play a part.

'We can provide an important platform for both experienced and up and coming drivers to progress their careers. Many F1 stars have made their name racing in F3, so we can give the rare opportunity to young drivers to hone their talents in a competitive European series and to encourage them to fulfil their full potential.

"Ultimately, this may also mean an F1 test for any exceptionally talented drivers competing in the British F3 Championship with Litespeed. The team will also benefit from its technical collaboration with the neighbouring Lotus F1 Racing team, which makes this an extremely exciting affiliation."

Litespeed is currently evaluating drivers for next season and will be signing those it considers to have the greatest potential for F1.

"We have been looking at a number of junior series, both local and international, and have seen some tremendous talent," director of engineering Steve Kenchington revealed, "Whilst we would like to announce our F3 driver line-up shortly, the door is not yet closed to experienced drivers who, realistically, have the skill and determination to win the championship next year."

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