The ever-expanding Lotus

Lotus will be sponsoring no fewer than four cars in the German ATS Formula 3 Cup this year, in a deal that will see Timo Rumpfkeil’s Motopark Academy team running in the same black and gold livery as he F1 Lotuses. The cars in this case will be Dallara-Volkswagens. The drivers are yet to be decided.

Another Lotus-branded team...

69 thoughts on “The ever-expanding Lotus

  1. I find it interesting that Lotus seem to have adopted the black and gold of JPS as their new corporate brand image. Ever since Lotus began the sponsorship revolution with Gold Leaf, Lotus haven’t really had a brand colour for their cars. The JPS livery is certainly a memorable one and was a successful one but is it really Lotus? I mean, if anything Lotus should be green and yellow as per their badge colours even though these just hark back to the British Racing Green with yellow stripe of the pre-sponsorship days, they are at least the two colours that have persisted through the gold leaf red and white years, the JPS black and gold years and the Camel vomit yellow years. Is it simply to distance themselves from Caterham?

  2. Exactly how much more bonkers can the Lotus deal get Joe? The chat at the school gate here (4km from Hethel) is of redundancies in production, natural wastage and so on, potential delays in new product.

    Only Diahatsu performed worse in terms of UK sales growth (loss) than Lotus last year, and that’s because they’ve pulled out of the UK Market! Lotus sold around 300 UK cars in 2011. Source SMMT.

    I’m Norfolk through and through, I love the brand and I’ve done work for them, but I get a sick feeling that all that’s going to be left if we’re not careful is a logo for sale and a large brown field site….

  3. How can they afford all this? Surely they are over stretching their budget by a long shot by now.

    Sooner or later this must backfire.

  4. Hey Danny Bahar, I drive a Mazda3, that for the right price could be transformed into a Lotus. It’s even black, so we just need some gold stickers. Give me a call…

  5. So this is a Dallara, Volkswagen, er……..Lotus.

    Dallara do the chassis, VW do the engine and…………….oh, er Lotus do the money ?

    Well, anyone can do the money can’t they ? You don’t actually need any technical capability. You just need to be a bit light in the head to be paying for somebody else to race.

    OK, the Lotus name is out there in peoples faces, but how clever is that if all it means is ‘We Give You Money’.

    I have an Exige that I use for ‘blasty-fun’ every now and then, and there is some self-respect in that because it’s hewn from solid ‘race-ness’ by people who had oil in their veins. (Never made money granted).

    However at this point there’s no way that I’d buy a new Lotus because frankly, not only has there not been a new model made to replace the Exige (in about the last 8 years) , but I would honestly feel embarassed to be driving around in something that comes from a pretend car company.

    Granted, non car lovers probably won’t catch on to this immediately but as the sheer number of Lotus race teams emerge some questions will start being asked.

    You can’t have looky-likey’s in F1, GP2, F3 and indycar and still not have a range of road cars for crying out loud.
    Looks like all money and no actual ability

    PS – the F3 paintwork looks great though

    1. Dallara does the chassis, VW does the engine, and Lotus does the paint – must be a new direction for their engineering dept. 😉

      Also, add LMP to the list of your look-a-likes… though I think Lotus will cast some valve covers in addition to the snazzy paint job contribution.

      Making strides indeed!

      Next: JPS-liveried karts!

      1. Skimming Imp. Tobacco’s interims, they have been very happy with sales of JPS labelled products lately. I guess to us here it’s just an anachronism, but JPS is a budget brand, better suited to where F1 is pressing ahead with new tracks, and a breakout from Feb/11 claims 24% on year brand sales growth. Yes, that almost predates what we’re paying attention to, but they remain smug – omitting numbers – in later statements.

        Just imagine you’re local to one of the latest tracks, know diddly about F1, ask the nearest knowledgeable person you find, and get an earful about the authenticity of cigarette packet colors on a car . . . you might want to slope off for a quiet relaxing puff after that!

        I guess at the very least Danny B might have an employment option still open to him . . read also (I’ve only skimmed) that pushback against advertising restrictions is something they are a lot more vocal about than I seem to remember.

        I am not anti tobacco, not at all, but regularly review The Insider, (Crowe, Pacino on the whistle blowing of ammonia treatments) and each time some tiny detail throws me in a new way, it’s better nuanced than the straight script. I read all the court docs, too, all of them at least for the final stage. Don’t force a teen to sit in a closet and finish the pack to put them off, give them the hundredweight of evidence & findings to read end to end! Advertising is like sex to many businesses, a primal urge, complete with exaggerated mating dances and silly claims and ambiguity. (Adland should carry govvy health warnings also) Who’s to say someone isn’t getting a little action on the side?

        1. Full Tin Foil Hat:

          Of course, by extension, Danny B runs Lotus Cars into the ground with his mad livery plan, and Imp. Tobacco, or a grateful shareholder, later quietly underwrites him a loan to pick it up on the cheap. Meanwhile, who is writing the performance bonds on these lovely revival films with all their authentic F1 scenery?

          I’m off to skulk in a alleyway, dirty mac, yellowed fingers and conspiratorial cough . . 🙂

  6. So the Lotus train wreck continues, It is uncomfortable watching all this happen, knowing that it will end in disaster, but the people (person) in charge seemingly oblivious to the looming financial ruin.
    Lotus are a tiny car company that has traditionally struggled to turn a profit, sponsoring endless race teams isn’t going to change that, they should spend the money on sorting the Evora’s gear linkage!
    I hope I’m wrong but this reckless spending could easily result in the company disappearing for ever, at best a lot of race teams are going to find themselves suddenly short of their budgets when the promised money fails to arrive.

  7. Joe,

    The more of Group Lotus’ money Bahar spends the more he can get back as “commision” before DRB HiCom rumble his game.

    F1 sponsorship of Renault is apparently $20m per year for 7 years.
    Lots of yummy commision and global exposure there for Lotus so why would Lotus need to brand any other teams if it’s not for commision?

    F1 is the best business in motorsport.


    1. Nicolas,

      I don’t think you mean ‘commission ‘ do you.

      Best not write the actual word you do mean though.

  8. Madness. Even if they genuinely had the money then sponsoring a German F3 team doesn’t make a lot of sense.

  9. Joe seeing as Lotus seem to like spending money maybe you should get your blog sponsored and earn some extra cash (said tongue in cheek).

  10. Ironic that Chapman’s idea was to separate the racing business from the road in order that a sudden collapse of the racing team wouldn’t kill the other off, and now it looks as if the collapse of the road is going to bring down the racing team — oh, hang on, a sponsorship isn’t the same thing as a team, is it…

  11. On the one hand we hear reports that Group Lotus isn’t doing well, and on the other they are endlessly spending. Hard to figure out what their plan is.

    Not that I’m not delighted to see the same team being represented in F1, F3, WEC and IndyCar on a given weekend. But I have to wonder how can the once great racing car manufacturer be content with merely branding exercises (in F3 and the WEC).

    1. i like’m, but I grant you the original JPS F3 driven by Trimmer et al was the best. Fantastic to look at – even if i wouldn’t have wanted to have an accident in it.
      But it made every other F3 look like a brick for the next 4 years.

        1. I’ve felt Airbuses generally seem to have a fatter profile than the Boeings in the nose section. That’s just what I feel. I didn’t mean to say Airbuses have something wrong. 🙂

          1. On my current pile to read is Boeing Versus Airbus: The Inside Story…

            From the most cursory flick through, and my memory of the press, there’s no end of sore heads. I have had arguments with people no connexion at all to either party who have raised the conversational temperature way too high. Maybe I should play down things when I am Token Limey in a crowd! But I get all party grief, from either side of the pond if I don’t roll my eyes and shrug my shoulders convincingly enough with feigned innocence. Those two should bloody well sponsor rival F1 teams and have it out like proper men 😉

            1. Yeah, there never has been an airline manufacturer sponsoring F1 big time though Airbus and EADS were involved with Renault in those title winning years? Not sure.

  12. I thinks its the other way around. Motopark pays Lotus to use their livery/branding so they can ask more for a drive in their team, as young drivers are willing to pay substantially more money for it if they can associate themselves with the F1 team

    1. Not a bad thought JV, but what a sad cynical world you live in.

      Actually I take that back – Welcome to the real world.

  13. I reckon Enstone are steeling themselves for when the
    Lotus position goes mammaries-up…. hence the E20 chassis designation…and maybe one last chassis rename to “Team Enstone” would be far more appropriate giving the boys the recognition they deserve.

  14. Joe,

    Its TWO new championships Lotus is entering here; German F3 AND ADAC Formula Masters with 10 CARS in total.

    From official press release:

    “One of the greatest sportscar manufacturers in racing history teams up with one of Germany’s best junior teams as Lotus and Team Motopark join forces with a combined rookie programme. [b]The German-based team will enter four Dallara-VWs in the 2012 German Formula 3 Championship and no less than six cars in the German ADAC Formula Masters, the new leading feeder series for up and coming drivers from kart racing.”[/b]

    1. Yes, details shortly. The one in London is not so certain as time is running out and finding the right venue has not been easy.

      1. How much time left to decide on the London one Joe?

        Thing is we can hustle up all sorts of space in the wrong places, by which I mean my manor, but I gave up searching because anywhere central is silly money or still silly money and tied in to catering deals. Even the Livery Companies are tight booked (e.g. Papermakers). I so miss when the City was a curious backwater, and you could be civilized, bordering on the leisurely about such things. Kicked myself good for not keeping up some dues. They trashed The Landsdowne. It’s all Yuppies Reborn everywhere. Maybe I moved east just in time to spare me all that.

        1. As an aside J(oJ), I’ve found recent difficulty with a number of London venues due to rising expenses because of the Olympics.
          Sadly, everyone seems to want a slice of the cake, albeit dipped in a touch fake gold-dust.

            1. May I drop into the vernacular?

              There’s this attitude around here:

              “Everything is possible”.

              And dreams crumble.

              I have a half signed lease, to be closed on a variation, on plenty space, almost a gift because I know who blah blah, good thing I have some experience with proper real estate so know the snags . . I have a budget to make it look great, inside, I’m that way inclined so fastidious does not explain it, assuming I can get everything on time (and I get hands dirty with anything and know my trades) and I have a wonderful mate, ex Para who would steam down here with all the seating, all that, projectors, drop of hat, he does that for the posh law firms up Chancery, when they do similar, he’s blinding. And all of that should be in three weeks regardless.

              But Heaven, bit of an ask to suggest Joe can get a anchor in to this! Too many moving parts.

              And any of that would be about what the audience wants. Usually better to ask a pro, who does nothing else. Not saying it’s crap down here, will steer you clear of the lousy curries etc. On License easy peasy, blah blah again. But what a headache! Nope, having thought it through, I’d show up for this only if there was a write in vote, or something like that. Though I did find a reason tonight to yell at my pal for giving up a perfect space he had long lease on in the Truman Brewery. Quitter!

              For Leigh, yup, it’s awful ’round here. If you’ve no building skills, nothing on the table. We do get word. If you do have a clue, however . . . Otherwise, count your fingers. I saw nothing less than 3 grand, up in town. If it was me, or I could find a reason to sponsor it, would take rooms at the Royal Courts, or my old school. I don’t know the economics work out for the options. But I’m spent up on my plan. Heck, I’ve been held back so much for finding space for at least a year, so at least I am not going to flunk my bit, for me.

              I can’t turn hope into reality without more information. That’s why my neighborhood is perpetually sunk: they have hopes but no ideas.

              Big Love from Bethnal Green!

              – j

  15. Note to Lotus – please convince Total to let you use their logo in black and gold on the F1 car’s endplates. Look how much nicer the F3 car looks!

  16. Meanwhile production ceases for 60 days at the Lotus factory – ostensibly because of some regulations in Malaysia relating to takeovers – though Proton’s production lines in Malaysia have not ceased so it does make one wonder. I wonder if we’re approaching the end game for Dany Bahar’s tenure at Group Lotus – and more sadly, perhaps even for Lotus itself?

  17. Hey Joe,

    My Fiesta needs a spruce up. Do you think Bahar will sponsor me and stick some Lotus logos on? Where can I get hold of him?


  18. Brings back some memories of the seventies. First the Sothern Organs fiasco. I cannot think why that came to mind….

    Second of the lovely little Lotus 73 F3 car. Hopefully Danny Boy will not know of this otherwise he will be claiming heritage and “DNA”.

    Are there any forecasts out there as to when the number of cars sponsored will exceed the number sold.

  19. I see that Caterham and Arden now have a (apparent) joint venture in World Series Renault. Any word on whether this is a true joint venture, some kind of sponsorship, or some kind of extension of the supply of gearboxes, KERS etc to Caterham by Red Bull?

  20. I really dislike the way this is being done, has nothing been learned from the Lotus Racing/Team Lotus/Caterham/Lotus Renault mess? They can’t just sponsor teams on short term contracts and switch teams every couple of years, it makes a mockery of them. Lotus has always been an engineering company not a marketing company.
    I am a big Lotus fan but just don’t have the enthusiasm to support Lotus in motorsport when they go about it in this way in just about every series you can think of. Instead of spending huge amounts of money sponsoring countless teams and not actually having a racing team (and of course not benefitting from this in terms of technology) why not just use this money, put all the eggs in one basket and do it properly, a full on Le Mans attack with a full works team.
    I could see this getting huge support as the British underdog, sadly this is not the image Bahar wants and he will try and trick people into thinking they are a British Ferrari.
    Remember how popular the Le Mans winning Jags were? These are still brought out all the time and Jaguar still talk about it, compare that with their F1 effort which was almost as fake as Lotus’ current F1 efforts, how often do Jaguar mention that??

    1. @Pete

      Good point you made. This plastering of its livery and name everywhere just does not do justice to the once great Lotus name. As someone suggested, I wonder if JPS is secretly sponsoring Lotus and making them do stuff like this. 🙂

      Let’s hope that they succeed in this year’s effort in Formula 1 and bring back credibility to their name.


    I attach below a genuine press release from Lotus re their upcoming appearance at the Geneva Motor Show.

    I don’t know which parallel dimension Lotus visited for their PR recruitment, but I bet you it’s called something along the lines of facile-numb nuts-donkey brain-frigging useless git-why can’t you get a proper job-do you know anything about cars anyway-you barmy s_d- – – – – – – dimension.

    Their brief is obviously to steer potential buyers toward Porsche and maybe even Jaguar now.

    Let’s face it would any of you want to associated with anyone that wrote this cobblers? If it doesn’t make you squirm – you could get a job in Lotus PR.

    Line one does mention the ever useful ‘less is more’ take on car design, but fails to list the resultant injuries sustained due to it.

    PRESS RELEASE – for goodness sake – BEGINS

    …Lotus’ philosophy has always been ‘less is more’. Now, with a display of true fighting spirit, we’ll take this one step further in Geneva.
    Who: Group Lotus
    What: Something breezy, something loud, something ice-cold, and some other interesting elements
    Where: Hall 2, Stand 2230
    When: 6th March, 11.15am (CET)
    Why: Because we’ll blow the roof off…

    PRESS RELEASE ENDS – thank god.

    If they trot out an Evora with the roof cut off I will not be responsible for my own thrombo.

    1. but you might be responsible for my thrombo, Interested! I now need a clean shirt! You had me dribbling…Top stuff.

  22. PS

    I should add that this release was reported on a news website and introduced with the tagline:-

    The Lotus Crazy Train Chugs On

    ‘nuf said.

  23. PPS

    This of course does beg the question as to how a (very) highly paid, experienced, motor marketing genius, with a great haircut, nice jackets, and an almost unlimited budget furnished him to re-launch the company, generate such ridicule, disbelief and japery in under 3 years.

    I think that the fact Lotus believes that this is a good press release, is possibly the most worrying turn of events to date.

  24. Ladies and Gentlemen: put on your tinfoil hats, for I have a conspiracy theory to share.

    Dany Bahar came from Ferrari to Lotus. Lotus has recently aimed to be a competitor to Ferrari. I have reason to believe that Bahar has been sent on a mission by Ferrari to expand the business so far and spread it so thin that it implodes, thus removing competition for Ferrari. As a side benefit, it will weaken a potentially strong F1 team (formerly Renault) and assure they are at the top of the market both on the road and in F1.

    Heard it here first… Bahar is still working for Ferrari.

    …it’s really the only way that this makes sense, or else he’s just bold and ambitious to the point of insanity…

  25. I don’t think anyone is paying anyone for all of this…

    A case of brand association. You paint your car in black and gold and stick a Lotus badge on it. Large sponsors come along and give you loads of money just to be associated with Lotus (ala Virgin F1 team as was…). Lotus get free branding and exposure, team gets loads of new sponsors!

    Well I guess that is the thinking anyway!

  26. And who exactly wants to be associated with Lotus at the moment ?

    I mean, I’ve got one but I wish I didn’t !

    If you want the epithet……….’more money than sense and I don’t know how to spend it’…………….climb on board.

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