Lotus has joined forces with Gravity-Charouz Racing to compete in the 2012 Formula Renault 3.5 Series. The team will race under the Lotus name and with a Czech license.
New Zealand's Richie Stanaway and Danish driver Marco Sorensen will be at the wheel of Lotus' two black and gold Formula Renault 3.5 open-wheelers. Stanaway is the reigning German Formula 3 champion. The 20-year-old won a GP3 race last year with Lotus-ART, despite contesting just two race weekends.
"I met the team for the first time during the post-season tests at the end of last year," said Stanaway. "I was very impressed with the operation and the many changes that have taken place within the team and felt very comfortable with them.
"In 2012, we will be happy to represent Lotus, which also competes in Formula 1. There will be a big battle in Formula Renault 3.5, as it's shaping up to be a very competitive series and I am really looking forward to it."
Marco Sorenson, 21, finished runner-up to Stanaway in German F3 last year, and has also tested the outgoing FR3.5 car.
"I am very optimistic after last year's test," said Sorensen. "We have the support of Lotus and that's great. I am looking forward to the new single-seater, which will be more powerful compared to last year's specification. I can't wait for the beginning of the season."
The Czech team entered the series last year, finishing seventh in the standings and taking three podiums with Brendon Hartley. Lotus' support of Gravity-Charouz follows its backing of teams in Formula 1, IndyCar, GP2, GP3, German F3 and German Formula Masters, as well as in GT racing, LMP2 and rallying.
Claudio Berro, director of Lotus Racing commented: "After entering Formula 1, GP2, GP3, the FIA World Endurance Championship and rallying, Lotus has confirmed its brand commitment to motorsport by joining the World Series by Renault. This is an important project for us. In every series we enter, we have strong drivers, a good background, and we aim to achieve the highest positions.
"Here we have a great driver lineup and are looking forward to an interesting and thrilling season. I think both Richie and Marco have a good chance of getting into F1 in the near future. The team was encouraged by their performance and reliability over the course of the post-season tests, which they managed without much experience of the car. We have plenty of confidence in them."
Lotus' FR3.5 lineup will make its debut in the new Zytek powered Dallara T12 during the World Series test at Paul Ricard in France on March 13-14 .