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Litespeed to use Lotus name for F1 bid

Johnny Herbert, Lotus, Pacific GP 1994Litespeed has announced that it will use the historic Lotus name for its attempt to enter Formula 1 next season.

The Norfolk-based Formula 3 squad's founders Nino Judge and Steve Kenchington are both former Lotus engineers, and have received permission from Lotus name rights-holder David Hunt to use the evocative title for their F1 bid.

"Team Lotus is synonymous with great British engineering and F1 innovation, such as the Lotus 25 being the first monocoque chassis in F1 and the introduction of groundbreaking sponsorship, both of which easily demonstrate why ex-Lotus personnel would want to bring this championship-winning name back to the formula," said Judge.

"Litespeed was born from a similar British background - a factor that was at the core of Colin Chapman's beliefs and subsequent success.

"David Hunt has been the custodian of the name for so many years and we thank him for entrusting us not just with its safeguard but, more importantly, its development in the racing world of tomorrow."

The team had already revealed that former Tyrrell, Jordan, Renault, Toyota and Force India technical boss Mike Gascoyne had begun design work via his MGI organisation. Gascoyne also welcomed the news that the project would use the Lotus title.

"I am Norfolk born and bred," said Gascoyne. "For me to continue my F1 career under the banner of the Team Lotus name and help to bring it back to its deserving place in the world championship is a fantastic feeling and something that I am extremely proud to be doing."

Litespeed will base the Lotus F1 project in the RTN facility in Norfolk previously used by TOM'S and which later housed Audi and Bentley's Le Mans projects.

The team has also recruited Johnny Herbert, who raced for Lotus in F1 from 1990 to 1994, as a commercial ambassador and driver manager.

Founded by legendary designer and innovator Colin Chapman, the original Lotus team moved into F1 in 1958 after success in sportscars and Formula 2. It would go on to earn seven constructors' titles and take Jim Clark, Graham Hill, Jochen Rindt, Emerson Fittipaldi and Mario Andretti to drivers' championships.

Its last race wins came with Ayrton Senna in 1987, after which its fortunes went into sharp decline - the famous team eventually closing its doors at the end of an uncompetitive and cash-strapped 1994 season.

Lotus is the third famous name to be associated with a prospective new F1 entrant for 2010, with other start-up projects having already announced plans to use the March and Brabham titles.

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