24h Le Mans
29/10/2012 11:40

EXCLUSIVE : The new Lotus LM P2

EXCLUSIVE : The new Lotus LM P2

 

Photo : Daniel Simon - ADESS AG

 

Renowned French designer and aerodynamicist Stéphane Chosse is supervising the birth of the Lotus T-128. Although the car is still a wind tunnel model, it may soon defend the black and gold of Lotus on the circuit. This time, make no mistake, a real Lotus prototype is about to break cover.

 
  Stéphane Chosse, fondateur de la société ADESS.

Stéphane Chosse, founder of ADESS.
When was the Lotus LM P2 programme launched?

Stéphane Chosse: "Kodewa The company, which entered Lotus (Lola chassis) this season in the FIA World Endurance Championship placed an order for an LMP2 from ADESS in March 2012."

The time was very short to design, produce, and develop it for the 2013 season ...
Actually my office already had a study for a "Le Mans Prototype" in March 2011. We used CFD (computational fluid dynamics) to understand the shape of such a car while limiting investment."

Does this project have a relationship with the one presented in Paris Motor Show in October 2010?
No none.

The public are confused between different projects from Lotus ... Who sponsors the programme?
"Kodewa, a company based in Germany and directed by Colin Kolles, is licensed to market an LM P2 car named Lotus from 2013. It is Kodewa that distributes the car designed by ADESS."

What is the interest for Colin Kolles call this Lotus prototype?
"Lotus is a legendary name that speaks to viewers and collectors ... Perhaps more than other marque engaged in endurance racing. The Lotus name is definitely an added value."

Your company is unknown in the world of motorsport. Who are you?
"Our group consists of the experienced Sebastian Lamour (Composites), Matthew Jacquemont (aerodynamics), Julien Ferrazzo (engine and systems integration), Lionel Berthier (suspension brakes steering). Some of them come from Peugeot Sport, Pescarolo Team, Toyota F1, and I myself worked 16 years in Formula 1 at Ligier, Sauber and Toyota."

How many people are working on the LM P2 project?
"We have a small team of fifteen people. This is the minimum for such an undertaking."

What were the priorities in the design of the car?
"Performance and driving comfort are the two main areas of our thinking."

Will the Lotus T-128 be innovative?
"Yes. The aerodynamics have been particularly carefully designed. The integration of suspension components has also been studied in depth."

Are the images on the Internet, are they consistent with the shape of the car?
"Yes. Obviously, aerodynamics will change a little ... But we can not show everything! We are currently finalizing the forms of the body in the Mercedes F1 wind tunnel in England."

When will final assembly begin?
"The mould of the monocoque is now in production and we have 60% of parts available."

Which engine was chosen?
"The first tub will be equipped with Lotus V8 (Judd), but the chassis will also take a Nissan V8 and maybe later blocks from Honda and Mazda (diesel)."

When will the Lotus T-128 take its first laps?
Early January.

How many Lotus T-128 will take to the track next year?
The Kodewa team will have two. In addition, several managers of teams already involved in endurance racing have come to visit our facilities ... We hope to be represented in the FIA World Endurance Championship, European LMS, LMS, Asian LMS and American LMS.

The brochure for potential clients (download pdf) mentions an LM P1 prototype?
A group of people will start working on this project in a fortnight. The LM P2 version already includes certain requirements stipulated by the LM P1 regulations of 2014, such as the driver position higher and more forward than it is on the current prototypes. This constraint penalizes aerodynamics somewhat but improves visibility for the driver.

The programme is therefore a long term one?
"Absolutely. We believe, especially with the liquidation of Lola Cars, there's room for a new manufacturer both LM P2 and LM P1."

Lemans.org will publish the first pictures of the Lotus T-128... Stay tuned!

Julien Hergault

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