Boro outfit buy iconic racing name

PUBLISHED: 09:32 11 June 2009 | UPDATED: 15:03 14 July 2010

One of the most iconic names in British motor racing could make a sensational return to the pinnacle of the sport next year after a Norfolk team bought the Team Lotus name.

One of the most iconic names in British motor racing could make a sensational return to the pinnacle of the sport next year after a Norfolk team bought the Team Lotus name.

Attleborough-based Litespeed F3 submitted an application last month to join the Formula One grid as part of proposals to freshen-up the world championship. And the motor racing team revealed at the weekend that they had purchased the rights to the Team Lotus name, which last competed in F1 15 years ago.

Officials from Litespeed spoke of their delight after adopting the iconic name, which they hope will give their plans to join the 2010 season extra impetus.

Team Lotus was founded by the late Colin Chapman at Hethel in 1952 and went on to win seven constructors' championships and six drivers' crowns with the likes of Jim Clark, Graham Hill, and Emerson Fittipaldi in the 1960s and 70s. The team folded in 1994, but remains the fourth most successful F1 constructor of all time.

The destiny of the resurrected Team Lotus will be discovered tomorrow when FIA announce which teams have been successful in joining next year's grid. It comes as the sport's governing body aims to introduce a £40m budget cap - an idea that has been met with protest by the F1 Team's Association - in a bid to encourage more teams to the sport. If approved, the return of a Norfolk constructor to F1 would represent a major boost to the county's motorsport heritage and to the local economy.

Nino Judge, former Team Lotus F1 employee and team principal of the new Team Lotus, said officials at Litespeed GP had been working behind the scenes for sometime to secure the name.

“Team Lotus is synonymous with great British engineering and F1 innovation, such as the Lotus 25 being the first monocoque chassis in F1 and the introduction of groundbreaking sponsorship. Both easily demonstrate why ex-Lotus personnel would want to bring this championship-winning name back to the formula. Litespeed was born from a similar British background - a factor that was at the core of Colin Chapman's beliefs and subsequent success,” he said.

The team has already employed former McLaren, Sauber, Tyrrell, Jordan, Renault, Toyota and Force India technical director Mike Gascoyne to design the 2010 Team Lotus chassis and has also announced former driver Johnny Herbert as driver manager and global commercial ambassador.

Gascoyne said: “I am Norfolk born and bred. For me to continue my F1 career under the banner of the Team Lotus name and help to bring it back to its deserving place in the world champion-ship is a fantastic feeling and something that I am extremely proud to be doing.”

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