Lotus ART is to drop its 'ART' name in 2012 and switch to racing in GP2 and GP3 under the name of Lotus GP, and will also adopt the iconic gold-and-black brand colours, bringing it in line with the reorganisation of Lotus-affiliated teams across multiple motor sports series.
"I am proud and happy to have the chance to give this new boost to the venture and to have the confidence of as prestigious an auto maker as Group Lotus, whose heritage in the sporting world is known worldwide," said team manager Frédéric Vasseur. "I am very happy about the sporting and technical prospects this partnership offers our team. It will enable both entities to capitalize on each others' expertise in order to rise to big challenges in the coming years."
Building on the foundations of the earlier ASM F3 team, the company was originally formed as ART Grand Prix in 2004/5 by Vasseur and Nicolas Todt, the son of FIA President Jean Todt. It has taken three team championships in GP2 since the start of the series in 2005, and swept both seasons of GP3 with 2011 seeing its drivers Valtteri Bottas and James Calado finish one-two in the driver standings.
Among its drivers over the years in the two championships have been Lewis Hamilton, Nico Rosberg, Nico Hülkenberg, Pastor Maldonardo, Lucas di Grassi and Romain Grosjean, along with Jules Bianchi who finished in third place in the 2011 GP2 championship. In 2012, Lotus GP's driver line-up will consist of Mexico's 2010 GP3 champion Esteban Gutiérrez who is returning for a second season with the team, alongside Britain's James Calado in his rookie year in the feeder series.
According to the team press release announcing the new name, the move will put the organisation "into high gear and create a new dynamic that both partners will benefit from," adding that: "the racing team's structure will be reinforced by this multiple collaboration which will work at several levels and in both directions."
"The relationship between Group Lotus and ART continues to intensify and both parties will benefit from sharing technological developments and engineering support," said Group Lotus' director of motorsports, Claudio Berro. "The partnership goes far beyond an agreement on the team name - this is just the tip of the iceberg. The collaboration between ART and Group Lotus is deeply rooted in the culture and daily life of both entities," he added, pointing out how race technology is feeding into the development of Lotus' road cars such as the Elise and the Evora.
"The current and future cars will benefit from developments in performance, endurance and stability at high speed and in return, the racing team can draw its inspiration from world-renowned engineering, since Lotus Engineering's engineers may be assigned to Lotus in the GP2 and GP3 Series."