Friday at the Bahrain Grand Prix marked an historic day for Lotus Racing, exactly six months to the day since the team’s entry into the 2010 Formula One™ World Championship was confirmed. Jarno Trulli was first car on track as the pit lane lights turned green, followed closely by Heikki Kovalainen as the team saw their incredible efforts since September 12th 2009 come to fruition in the desert heat.
The morning session saw the team complete 36 laps in total, with both Heikki (21 laps) and Jarno (15 laps) completing their planned programs and stepping out of their respective cars satisfied with their morning’s work. As track temperatures climbed to nearly 50° after lunch they both returned to work, Jarno notching up another 14 laps and Heikki 23 more and testing aero upgrades that had been fitted over the lunch break. Heikki’s best time of the afternoon session was 2.00.873 and Jarno 2.00.990.
Chief Technical Officer Mike Gascoyne gave his thoughts on the team’s first outing of the race season, saying “A good day for the team after a very long night preparing the cars for today. Everyone worked very hard and it was satisfying to see us first out on track and then put in a solid performance throughout the day. We tried an aero upgrade this afternoon and we’ll look at the results of that in this afternoon’s debrief, but now we’re looking forward to putting in another professional performance tomorrow in qualifying.”
Thoughts now turn to tomorrow’s qualifying session and the forthcoming race, with Team Principal Tony Fernandes arriving in Bahrain to add his support to the Lotus Racing team’s efforts on track.
F1 driver Heikki Kovalainen visits the home of Lotus Cars to meet the Lotus family and choose the scheme for his personalised Lotus Evora.
It was a real thrill for the Lotus workforce to see Lotus F1 Racing Driver Heikki as he was given a personal tour of the production facilities yesterday, and even more exciting for those few employees who got a rare chance to be driven by the F1 star as he tested the Lotus Evora on Lotus’ own test track for the first time.
During his day with Lotus Cars Heikki was given a special tour of the Classic Team Lotus workshops by Clive Chapman, son of Lotus founder Colin Chapman during which he chatted to Clive and Engineer Bob Dance about their first hand experience of some of the most successful and iconic F1 racing cars of all time. The tour was steeped in Lotus history and included some of the F1 cars that helped Lotus to achieve 79 GP wins, seven constructor’s titles and 6 drivers’ championships, including Emerson Fittipaldi’s Type 72.
Dany Bahar, CEO of Group Lotus plc said, “Group Lotus is very proud of its racing pedigree and we are all very excited to share our story with Heikki. It was our honour to welcome Heikki to Group Lotus and we wish him and the Lotus F1 Racing team every success for the 2010 F1 season.”
Dany Bahar continued, “We take great pride in the sports cars that we produce at Hethel and Heikki’s visit provided a great opportunity to show off the multi-award winning cars that we produce and the advanced niche production facilities at Hethel.”
Heikki was not on Lotus soil long before he was behind the wheel of the Lotus Evora trying it on for size on Lotus’ own test track and commented “The Evora was everything I expected, Lotus is famous for fantastic sports cars and the Evora did not disappoint. The power to weight ratio gives the car a real racecar feel and allowed me to really push the car round the track. I enjoyed every lap and had fun sliding it sideways!”
He went on to say, “The day has been great, I was really excited to see so many happy, motivated people and the support of the Lotus workforce is very much appreciated, I really got a sense of the passion the people have for the Lotus brand.”
Heikki concluded, “I’d really like to thank every one at Lotus for a great day, it was an honour to meet Clive Chapman and learn more abut his legendary father and to see Lotus’ classic F1 cars. I’m really keen to drive one of the JPS cars and maybe will be at Lotus again sometime soon to drive the Type 72!”
F1 driver Jarno Trulli straight from being announced as driver for Lotus F1 Racing in Malaysia made the trip to the home of Lotus at Hethel in England, visiting where Lotus history was made.
Jarno was also given a special tour of the Classic Team Lotus workshops by Clive Chapman, son of Lotus founder Colin Chapman. During the visit to Classic Team Lotus Jarno viewed some of the most successful and iconic F1 racing cars of all time. The tour was steeped in Lotus heritage and included some of the F1 cars that helped Lotus to achieve 79 GP wins, seven constructor’s titles and 6 drivers’ championships, including, Emerson Fittipaldi’s Type 72, Graham Hill’s Type 49 and Jim Clark’s Type 25.
Dany Bahar, CEO of Group Lotus plc said, “The family gets bigger with the arrival of Jarno. It was very special to host Jarno at Group Lotus, he is an exceptional driving talent and we wish him and Lotus F1 Racing every success for the 2010 F1 season.”
Dany Bahar continued, “We take great pride in the sports cars that we produce at Hethel and Jarno’s visit provided a great opportunity to show off the multi-award winning cars that we produce and the advanced niche production facilities at Hethel.”
Jarno had a fantastic time driving the Lotus Evora and visiting the home of the iconic Lotus marque, commenting, “Gino Rosato and I come from the same region of Italy, Abruzzo, we have been close friends for years and it was always a dream of ours to work together. Claudio Berro and Dany Bahar are also old friends and I honestly never thought that I would get the opportunity to work with these great people.”
He went on to say,” It was a great occasion and I thoroughly enjoyed seeing all the fantastic Classic Lotus F1 cars and new Lotus models. The facilities at Group Lotus are very impressive and I was amazed at the dedication and craftsmanship that goes into the production of Lotus cars. The Lotus Evora lived up to all my expectations of what a Lotus would be like to drive. It is clearly a very well engineered car that provides an exceptionally rewarding drive and I am looking forward to Lotus’ exciting future.”
[press release from Lotus]