What’s going on at Lotus?
The troubled sports car manufacturer’s woes in supplying engines for the IZOD IndyCar Series have been well documented but now the company has been shunted aside as a Formula One team sponsor.
In a story that appeared in AUTOSPORT magazine this week Team Lotus reveals that it has terminated its title sponsorship deal with sportscar manufacturer Group Lotus,
The team, however will still carry the Lotus badge on its cars.
All of this started with Group Lotus being sold to Malaysian automotive conglomerate DRB-Hicom.
Once that deal was made public Team Lotus boss Gerard Lopez said his association with the British based manufacturer was “over”.
“The sponsorship agreement and the obligations of Lotus have been terminated,” Lopez said. “There is no option from Group Lotus to buy into F-1 now — that option was taken over by us. There was one, but we have taken it over now.”
Jacques Villeneuve to drive dad’s Ferrari 312 T4
It will be 30 years next month — May 8 — since the tragic death of Gilles Villeneuve — Canada’s first true Formula One star — during qualifying for the 1982 Belgian Grand Prix at Zolde.
To mark that saddest of days his son — 1997 World Champion Jacques Villeneuve — will drive his father’ 1979 F-1 Ferrari at Fiorano on May 8 to honour the anniversary.
Gilles Villeneuve, although he never won a world championship, is considered by many to be the best and fastest F-1 driver this country has ever produced.
A team statement this week by Ferrari said Jacques Villeneuve’s outing in the 312 T4 would be “a fitting occasion to evoke the memory of a man who has and always will have a place of honour in the history of Ferrari.”
JR Motorsports swaps crew chiefs
This release from the offices of JR Motorsports NASCAR Nationwide program:
JR Motorsports has implemented a crew chief swap to its No. 88 and No. 5 NASCAR Nationwide Series teams, general manager and co-owner Kelley Earnhardt Miller announced.
Crew chief Bruce Cook has taken over responsibilities for the No. 88 Chevrolets driven by Cole Whitt. Until now Cook has spearheaded the organization’s third team – a part-time entry primarily driven by Dale Earnhardt Jr. – while lending assistance to the company’s two full-schedule teams. That role will now fall to Tony Eury Sr., who takes charge of the No. 5 team while continuing his role as JR Motorsports’ competition director. Tony Eury Jr.’s role as crew chief for Danica Patrick and the No. 7 GoDaddy.com team remains unchanged.
“Our teams have a tremendous responsibility not only to perform at the standards we set for ourselves but reflect the commitment to excellence of our sponsors,” said Earnhardt Miller. “Our on-track performance isn’t meeting those standards, and we felt a change was necessary.”