Present and past Formula One world champions Vettel, Button, Hamilton, Alonso and Schumacher all developed their competitive instincts and honed their motor racing skills in go karts. In fact, almost every top-flight racing driver took their first laps behind the wheel of these simple, lightweight racers. And Group Lotus has recognised the value of a long-term investment in developing young driving talent with an entry into the 2012 CIK-FIA World Karting Championship.
In doing so Lotus has become the first car manufacturer to have an official foothold in the entry-level category, and says it isn’t only interested in spotting future driving talent. The potential to work with young people showing an aptitude for design and engineering is also recognised as a special opportunity for the company.
Lotus Racing Karts is now part of Lotus Motorsport which also competes in the FIA Formula One world championship, and will be operated by the experienced Jefra Racing out of its headquarters near Treviso, Italy.
Team Manager Franc Jerancic will have the latest homologated material at his disposal, including two new chassis, ‘Colin C30’ and ‘Jimmy C32’; the former named after Lotus founder Colin Chapman, the latter after two time world F1 champion Jim Clark, a name synonymous with the brand.
Production of the karts has been licensed by Group Lotus to Wildkart, regarded as an authority in kart chassis and component development.
Commenting on the entry, Director of Operations for Lotus Motorsport, Miodrag Kotur said, “Our entry into karting is exciting on many levels. Not only are we nurturing new talent and widening our motorsport program, but we also have an opportunity to join forces with two world-class specialists. It is exciting to see Lotus Motorsport grow in such an authentic, fresh and exhilarating way.”
Lotus Racing Karts will unveil their 2012 karts at the annual AUTOSPORT International event on the 14th January 2012 at NEC - Birmingham, UK.
Sign up here to receive the latest round-up of Wheels news, reviews and video highlights straight to your inbox each week.
Want free access to 5 years of Wheels archive content? Sign up now!