In a 56-car 80th anniversary 24 Hours of Le Mans field that's heavy on prototypes--there are 15 LMP1 invited cars and an enviable 18 LMP2 production-based racers on the list--one very surprising invitation emerged from the list.That would be Lotus, spreading its tentacles throughout the motorsports world from Formula 1 to Indy cars, overseeing GP2 and GP3 teams, together with competition versions of its road-going production cars in a variety of GT and rallying championships. Lotus also runs its own kart programs and offers track-day encounters with the Evora GT and Exos/Type 125 single-seater.The success of last year's Evora GT program in the former Intercontinental Le Mans Cup (ILMC) wasn't enough for the ambitious company. Now Lotus is entering the world of LMP2 competition, easily one of the most competitive at Le Mans and the umbrella FIA World Endurance Championship. All along, Lotus planned to design its own LMP2 car, and when the Peugeot prototype program died its unnatural death a month ago, Lotus picked up the designer of the Peugeot 908 HDi FAP to help further the program. There were some sticking points in that transition so Lotus has, instead, decided to use an independent team to run the Le Mans entry on its behalf.The team Lotus chose is Kodewa, an Ingolstadt-based German sports car concern headed by former HRT Formula 1 team principal Colin Kolles and his father Romulus. The chosen chassis is a Lola B12/80 coupe and the engine is a Lotus-badged BMW V8 prepared by Engine Developments Ltd, the same group Lotus uses to design, construct and maintain its Indy car engines.The car, as is customary for the brand, features the same 1970s-themed black and gold livery as other Lotus racers, penned by Daniel Simon, a former Volkswagen Group designer who claims penmanship for the Tron:Legacy lightcycles and the paint scheme run on last year's HRT F111 Formula 1 car. The new Lotus LMP2 car debuts when the FIA kicks off its new World Endurance Championship on the Sebring International Raceway road/airport course in March at the Mobil 1 12 Hours of Sebring, with a second car set to appear for the WEC's second race of the season, the six-hour race at Spa-Francorchamps, always a tune-up for the Le Mans summer classic.