The European Grand Prix in Valencia, the ninth race of the 2010 FIA Formula One™ World Championship, is the 500th Grand Prix Lotus has competed in, an historic landmark in the Lotus legend. Lotus Racing will be celebrating this incredible milestone with Colin Chapman’s son Clive, who, with his family, will be representing one of the greatest names in Formula One™ history. He and the Lotus Racing team will be paying tribute to the legacy his father Colin created in single-seat racing in 1956 when he launched the Type 12, the car that will appear alongside the 2010 challenger, the T127, in the Valencia pitlane on Thursday evening.
Lotus Racing will be celebrating the 500th race across the whole race weekend. The T127’s of Jarno Trulli and Heikki Kovalainen will both be carrying a specially created “500” logo on their engine covers, and the team’s garages will also show off the logo that celebrates their heritage. An extended edition of Lotus Racing Notes, the team’s race-by-race newsletter, will be available online and in very-limited-edition hard copy from Thursday, as is a new podcast, and in the merchandise stands and online, “500” Lotus Racing team shirts and other memorabilia will be on sale. In the motorhome, the Lotus Racing catering team have been putting together a menu that each day features one of the favourite dishes of Lotus legends, including Sir Stirling Moss and Colin Chapman – more details will be announced each day…..
Jarno Trulli: “I’m really looking forward to Valencia. It’s a circuit I like, and I enjoy the race there – It’s always warm, and it’s a beautiful city. I’m in the new chassis (T127-04) from this race, and hopefully that will bring me some better luck over the race weekend – in Canada I was really flying until the retirement, so I hope I can carry that through to this weekend and see the chequered flag. That’s obviously important, but this weekend is also all about the 500th race for Lotus. It’ll be very special to help take that famous name to such a milestone, and I’m very honoured to be part of it. I met Hazel Chapman on Sunday at the Classic Team Lotus Festival, and that was very special for me, particularly as I had the chance to drive Elio De Angelis’ T91 in front of the crowds, and that felt great.”
Heikki Kovalainen: “The last few races have been very positive for our team, we’ve been making progress every weekend and the plan is to carry on pushing. For Valencia, and for the rest of the season, we’re not looking back at the other new teams – we lapped them in Canada so we’re looking to keep taking the fight to the guys ahead, and I think we can do that. This is obviously an historic weekend for Lotus, and for Lotus Racing, and I think we’re starting to do justice to what’s gone before us – it’s fantastic that we can celebrate such a great milestone in Valencia, and it’ll be an honour to be part of that.
“On the race itself – the track is a street circuit, but there is quite a lot more room on track than in Monaco or Singapore, so it’s more of a semi-street circuit. You can hit the kerbs harder, and find a better balance between the straight-line speed and the grip in the corners, but this makes finding the right downforce level crucial. It’s always hot there, and getting the best out of the tyres will be important – we have the super-soft tyres there so we’ll work on getting the best out of them on Friday and Saturday. I think we’ll put on a good show, and give Clive Chapman and his family, and all the Lotus fans something to cheer for!”
Mike Gascoyne, Chief Technical Officer: “I’m really looking forward to this weekend, and am excited about both celebrating the 500th race Lotus has competed in, and helping add another chapter to one of motorsport’s greatest stories. We’ve already come a long way this season, and have much further to go until we can add more glory to the Lotus legend, but I and the whole team are very proud to be in a position to help the Lotus name reach this landmark moment, and it’ll be great to celebrate that with Clive, Tony and the whole team.
“For the race, we have a few more updates to the car to help us keep pushing forward, so we’re not letting up on the challenge to take the race to the cars in front. I’m confident we’ll put on a good performance in Valencia – we’ve got the right drivers to cope with the demands of the circuit itself, and the car keeps improving with every new step we take, so I think this will be another chance to pressure the midfield, and make good on the promise we showed in Canada.”
Tony Fernandes: “Celebrating the 500th race will be an absolute honour, and will obviously be very special, but we’re only nine races of the whole Lotus story. Really, this weekend is all about celebrating Colin Chapman’s history, and thanking Clive, his Mother Hazel, and all the people that have helped shape the Lotus legend. I’m thrilled that some of the people that were part of the original story are with us today, and I’m proud we’ve been able to take the total number of races Lotus has taken part in to 500 and beyond – hopefully we’ll be celebrating 1,000 races one day, and can look back on a legacy that pays true homage to that we’re celebrating this weekend – the legacy of Colin Chapman, his family, his cars and his team.”
Clive Chapman: “Of course the 500th Grand Prix for the Lotus marque is a significant landmark, and it was nice that Lotus Racing thought to invite my mother to attend – after all, Hazel Chapman is the person with the closest association to the Team Lotus history. Much as she wanted to accept, regretfully she decided against it, so I’ll be there with my family representing Classic Team Lotus and my father’s legacy.
“The fact my mother won’t be in Valencia this weekend made it all the more special that she was with all the Team Lotus F1™ cars and the Lotus Racing T127 at the Classic Team Lotus Festival last weekend at Snetterton. It was a great moment for my family and me to see my mum and their grandma standing at the front of the 35 Lotus F1™ cars, and then to be joined by the Lotus Racing drivers. The ‘Valencia installation lap’ conducted at Snetterton by the T127 was another highlight of the day for everyone there.
“Much as it is nice that Lotus Racing is celebrating 500th Grand Prix, I am sure the most important thing about the weekend for the team is that it is another race and the next opportunity to continue to make progress towards the established teams. It was exciting to watch Montreal qualifying, when Heikki almost pipped the Sauber, and I for one would swap the 500th landmark for the landmark of outqualifying an established team in normal circumstances. Fingers crossed!”