Through partnering and/or licensing deals with existing teams, Lotus has quickly expanded its motorsport presence in recent years without getting directly involved. By tying up with Kodewa at the start of the 2012 season, Lotus also expanded into sports car racing. Team principle of this German outfit is former dentist Colin Kolles, who served in a similar capacity at the Jordan/Spyker/Force India F1 team and later also fielded privately entered Audi R10s.
In their first season the German 'Lotus' team fielded two V8-engined Lola LMP2 chassis in the manufacturers corporate colours of black and gold. At Le Mans in June, Kolles announced plans to develop and construct a brand new Lotus prototype racer for 2013. German engineering firm Adess AG from Munich was commissioned to complete this task. Overseeing the project was French engineer and aerodynamicist Stephane Cosse, who had previously worked for Ligier and Toyota in Formula 1.
As has become the norm, the Lotus T128 features a carbon fibre monocoque with an integrated roll-over structure. While initially intended as an LMP2 car, the chassis was built to LMP1 safety standards to cater to the broadest market possible. Suspension is by double wishbones on both ends with push-rod actuated springs and dampers. Brembo carbon ceramic disc brakes and electric power steering are also part of the standard package.
Kodewa's own cars will be powered by the Lotus-badged Judd HK engine. This V8 was originally developed from the BMW S65 used in the M3. While still using the production block, the engine's displacement was lowered to 3.6 litre to optimise the performance with the mandatory restrictor. Installation packages for other engines will also be made available to customers. Regardless of the engine selected, the T128 will be delivered with a six-speed sequential gearbox developed specifically for the car by Hewland.
The cost-capped rolling chassis will be clothed in a carbon fibre composite body. Judging from the wind-tunnel models, Chosse kept a close eye on the rivals. What immediately stands out is the wide, 'platypus' nose also used by Audi and the upright headlights that were introduced by various teams during the 2012 season. The rear fenders also have a relatively long leading edge. Responsible for the car's livery is German artist Daniel Simon, who is best known for his work in Hollywood.
At this time the first T128 is under construction and we expect the new 'Lotus' to be one of the full season contenders in the 2013 FIA World Endurance Championship.