Last year’s FIA World Endurance Championship was a disappointing venture for the German racing team Kodewa and its Lotus race cars, as both of its LMP2 cars were seized following financial issues. Even after that embarrassing moment, they aren’t willing to give up just yet. In fact, Colin Kolles and his crew were brave enough to step up to the LMP1 class after spending two seasons in the lower LMP2 tier.
Things didn’t go as planned so far, with a late engine switch resulting in delays that caused the team to miss the first two rounds of the season and withdraw from the 24 Hours of Le Mans race that’s set to start on June 14th, 2014. Thankfully, Kodewa solved its issues and the Lotus T129 traveled to the Circuit de la Sarthe to meet its fans, but it will not participate in the race.
Since we’re talking about a race car, the full details are under wraps, but we do know that the Lotus T129 will fight its way through the LMP1-L class, which is reserved to prototypes not using hybrid technology, with help from a twin-turbo, V-6 engine developed by AER. The new unit replaces an Audi -sourced, naturally aspirated V-8.
The new race car will begin testing shortly after this weekend’s race and debut at the 6 Hours of Circuit of the Americas in Austin, Texas on September 20, 2014. Opposition in the LMP1-L class will come from two Toyota -powered racers operated by Rebellion Racing. The Lotus T129 will be driven by Christijan Albers, Pierre Kaffer and Christophe Bouchut.
Click past the jump to read more about the 2014 Lotus T129 LMP1.
Rebellion Racing is Lotus’ sole competitor in the LMP1-L class for the 2014 season. The Swiss team uses two brand-new race cars built by famed French constructor Oreca. The new machines replace the previous Lola B12/60 chassis, which were retired earlier in 2014. Unlike Lotus, which uses turbocharged V-6 units, Rebellion Racing opts for Toyota-sourced, naturally aspirated, 3.4-liter, V-8 engines.
Rebellion Racing and Oreca designed the new race car in record time considering its complexity, and requirements and testing began in April 2014. The No. 12 car is driven by Nicolas Prost, former F1 ace Nick Heidfeld, and Mathias Beche, while the No. 13 entry is handled by Dominik Kraihamer, Andrea Belicchi, and Fabio Leimer. With Lotus already late to the endurance party, Rebellion Racing is very likely to win the LMP1-L manufacturers’ championship at the end of season.
Gallery Lotus T129 LMP1
The all-new Lotus P1/01 took centre stage at the iconic 24 hours of Le Mans event today as the LMP1 L class car was unveiled to the media and public for the very first time.
The Le Mans Innovation Centre played host to the much anticipated unveiling where Lotus LMP drivers Christijan Albers, Christophe Bouchut and Pierre Kaffer were on hand to do the honours and pull the cover from the stunning Paul White designed car.
Delays resulting from an unavoidable change in engine supplier prevent the team from compet-ing at the world famous race this weekend, much to the disappointment of the team and the drivers. Despite this, the unveiling was an enormously proud moment for the team, the iconic LMP 1 class represents the highest class of sports car racing, attracting some of the best drivers in the world and is usually dominated by world famous manufacturers.
Commenting at the launch, Lotus LMP Head of Operations, Boris Bermes said: “It’s really heart-warming to see so many supporters and fans of the team here in Le Mans. It’s difficult to be here and not compete, we have a team of very talented, very competitive individuals and all they want to do is race. They really did everything they could to try and meet the homologation deadline but now we focus all our efforts on testing ahead of Austin in September. I’m looking forward to showing our fans and our competitors what the car can do in the not too distant fu-ture.”
The Lotus LMP drivers in attendance made it clear that they are really looking forward to getting behind the wheel of the P1/01, former Formula 1 driver Christijan Albers said: “The P1/01 has awesome potential and I can’t wait to see what the it can do. For sure, it’s strange to be here and not race but the team is definitely remaining positive about the rest of the season, anything can happen in this sport.”