Lotus has decided to make a return to rallying after a long and sustained absence. Their rallying highlight was way back in ’81 when they won the World Rally Championship with the Talbot Sunbeam Lotus. The car they’ve chosen to return to rallying with this year is a competition modified Exige, a car diametrically opposed to the old Sunbeam. The Lotus Exige R-GT is being developed in partnership with the Italian team United Business, winners of the 2011 FIA European Rally Championship.
The Exige R-GT is undergoing final tests this week in preparation for its FIA homologation. Its first outing will be the Mille Miglia rally on April 19 – 21. The car won’t be competing in the full season, instead it will be making appearances at the championship’s special stages.
“This will be the first GT car to be homologated by the FIA. Lotus, of course, has been successful in rallying before, winning the 1981 World Rally Championship with the Talbot Sunbeam Lotus.”, says Lotus Racing Director Claudio Berro. “The championship largely takes place on tarmac, which suits us too. It’s so exciting to go rallying with this new project. It’s another big challenge for Lotus.”
Ten cars will be built this year, with seven cars allocated to the official team and European racing drivers.