Longtime Porsche entrant Alex Job Racing is switching to Lotus for the upcoming American Le Mans Series presented by Tequila Patrón. The team has joined forces with Lotus Motorsport to field a 2012 Lotus Evora GTE under the name of Lotus Alex Job Racing, to compete for the GT championship. The factory-backed effort will join the series starting with the second round of the season at Long Beach on April 14. Lotus AJR will carry sponsorship from Battery Tender, William Rast and run Yokohama tires. It will go head to head against factory and works-supported GT entries from the likes of BMW, Chevrolet, Ferrari and Porsche.
Team principal Alex Job confirmed that IndyCar driver Townsend Bell will partner with two-time ALMS Founders Cup winner and AJR driver Bill Sweedler for the full season. The pair will attempt to build on Alex Job Racing's record of 39 ALMS race victories and three GT championships.
"I am excited to announce the racing partnership between Lotus and Alex Job Racing in North America," Job said. "Our efforts and ability to attract Lotus is a testament to the hard work that AJR has put in over the past several years. This partnership – along with our key sponsors William Rast, Battery Tender and Yokohama – represents a new chapter for our seasoned organization and for the ALMS.
“Bill Sweedler, Townsend Bell, and Colin Dyne (CEO, William Rast) played the key role in forging this long-term relationship with Lotus,” he added. “We collectively look forward to representing this iconic sports car brand for years to come in GT racing."
"We are focused on winning," said Dany Bahar, CEO of Group Lotus. "Alex Job has one of the best records in sports car racing. We look forward to working together and developing a top-tier team over the coming years. Racing is a core component of the Lotus brand, and we are thrilled to have this new partnership to further enhance our winning racing heritage."
"This is doubly good news for the American Le Mans Series presented by Tequila Patrón," said Scott Atherton, ALMS president and CEO. "It's a pleasure to welcome the Lotus brand and its spectacular Evora to the most competitive GT class of racing in the world. But to have this factory-backed effort spearheaded by Alex Job – one of the most successful team owners in ALMS history – assures that this will be yet another championship-caliber entry to the GT class.
“Lotus has made a lot of racing news lately with significant programs announced in multiple categories of motorsport,” he added. “After a full evaluation of all options we are proud they selected the ALMS for their factory-backed GT racing platform. This represents the best possible opportunity for Lotus to race what they sell and to showcase the technology and performance of their cars against the benchmark examples of the industry.”
Best known for his efforts in open-wheel racing, Bell won the Indy Lights Championship in 2001 before moving on to CART and the Indy Racing League. He finished fourth in the 2009 Indy 500 and was the first American to have a podium finish in the FIA Formula 3000 Series. In addition to his ALMS driving commitments, Bell will serve as a pit reporter for IndyCar TV telecasts.
"Having the chance to represent such a great brand like Lotus is simply awesome," said Bell. "The fact that I get to work with one of the best teams in sports car racing is icing on the cake. I'm really fired up to work with Lotus AJR and Bill in what will undoubtedly be a great adventure. Time to buckle up!"
"We are delighted to welcome Townsend to the Lotus AJR family," Job added. "Townsend comes from a distinguished career in IndyCar and open-wheel racing in the U.S. and Europe. His natural speed and personality will make for a successful partnership.”
"I am really excited about 2012 and driving with Townsend," Sweedler said. “He will be a strong addition to the team. I had a fantastic time working with AJR for the last couple of years and am honored to continue as one of their drivers. Alex and his team run a first class operation just like Lotus. It will be a strong partnership."
Alex Job Racing is one of the most successful teams in sports car racing. The team's résumé includes ALMS GT series championships in 2004, 2003, 2002; a record 22 consecutive ALMS GT pole positions; two class victories at the 24 Hours of Le Mans; and seven Sebring 12 Hours victories – 2010, 2004, 2003, 2002, 2001, 1999 and 1995.