Lotus Cup Europe, the World's premier Lotus race Championship was set up by Group Lotus as a direct response to customer and Lotus dealer interest in a fun but professionally run motor sport series. During that time it has attracted many competitors from all over the continent.
In 2009, prompted by the success of the Lotus on Track Elise Trophy, LoTRDC were given control of the series by Group Lotus, and grids immediately thrived. Since then many more drivers have joined from across the continent, all united by their enthusiasm for the marque. In 2013 Lotus Cup Europe gained FIA approval, becoming an FIA International Series. In addition to enjoying similar status to prestigious series such as GP2 and DTM, it ran as a championship for the first time. This builds on a tradition that has seen races appear on the support bill to some of the continent’s biggest motor sport events.
The championship has its own hour long TV Programme that is broadcast throughout Europe on Motors TV. All seven rounds are fully covered with programmes loaded to Motuls YouTube channel once broadcast.
Lotus Cup Europe enjoys unrivalled support from the Lotus community, many of whom can be found at events. The championship is active on social media with well over 60,000 facebook followers and received over 3 million views and 1/4 million likes in the last full year.
Competitors are assured of maximum time on track during events, and many of these open with a test day, for which drivers are welcome to enter. Race weekends start with a free practice session, and this is followed by 30 minutes of qualifying. There are two half-hour races, with both standing and rolling starts employed.
Lotus Cup Europe receives support from Group Lotus in terms of marketing and technical policing. There is a dedicated hospitality unit, where competitors can go for help and advice throughout the weekend. It also provides a social hub, including catering facilities, that has proved as important amongst the drivers as the competition itself.
Entries are split into four classes: V6 Cup - for the Exige V6 Cup and Evora GT4. 2-Eleven – for the four-cylinder supercharged open-top 2-Eleven. Production - for normally aspirated Elises and Exiges. Lotus Open – for four-cylinder Exige Cup cars, and the old invitation class for Lotus cars that are not eligible for the above categories. Open to Exige, Elise and the 340R. Championship points are scored according to class position, with bonus points added for the number of cars starting races in each class, therefore, drivers from all four classes have an equal chance of competing for the overall title. John Rasse won the 2015 championship whilst competing in the Production class while Jérémy Lourenco won the 2014 championship with a 2-Eleven.
In 2018 Lotus Cup Europe will again visit many of the continent’s finest circuits, with a calendar that spans four countries across seven events and a record 17 races.
The season begins with the popular Hockenheim Historic meeting, which will commemorate the 50th anniversary of Lotus World Champion Jim Clark’s passing. From here the FIA International Series will make the first of three support appearances with Coupe de France Camions, at Paul Ricard just one month before the Le Castellet venue hosts the first French Grand Prix in a decade.
In June Lotus Cup Europe will make its annual visit to Belgium’s majestic Spa-Francorchamps circuit, before a welcome return to former Grand Prix venue Magny-Cours, just south of Paris for its round of Coupe de France Camions. The series returns to Belgium for its annual visit to Zolder in August, this time supporting the 24-Hour race. Silverstone is back on the calendar in September, as part of the International GT Open event, then the season closes at Le Mans once more, in front of a huge 24 Heures Camions crowd.
The championship is open to drivers at all levels of experience, provided that they hold an International D licence or higher. Whilst the series has grown hugely since its inception a decade ago, the emphasis has firmly remained as a fun and social environment in which to compete.