Lotus Cup Europe 2023 season to kick off at Zolder this weekend

Tuesday 28 March 2023

Lotus Cup Europe makes a welcome return to Zolder for the championships opening round of 2023 this weekend 1st & 2nd April 2023.

With a new tyre supplier, a circuit not visited last year, technical changes to the Evoras and the reigning champion missing from the opening round it promises to be a fascinating start to the season. Drivers will race on the all new Nankang CR-S for the first time, with the vast majority taking to the new tyre for the first time at Zolder. A major change will see most Evoras now running the same engine as the Exige V6s in a change to what has been the most successful car in the Championships history while it’s most successful driver Bence Balogh won’t join the grid until round 2 at Hockenheim.

Britain’s Jason McInulty will be looking to make the most of the defending champion’s absence and score some early points as he makes a return to the GT Cup class in his Evora GT4 after winning the Production championship in 2022. At least five different Evoras are expected to take to the grid this year along with the Emira GT4 which will eventually join us at the hands of new driver, Wolfgang Henseler, who will be starting the season in an Evora before switching to the new GT4. Sweden’s Sven Pettersson has had a few seasons in his Evora after winning the Production championship and will be looking to push McInulty all the way.

Arguably the most competitive it’s been for some years the Exige Cup class is set to put on quite the show this season. Returning champion and Balogh’s main rival for overall honours, fellow Hungarian Tamas Vizin, will be hoping to build on last years performance where he was able to take two outright race wins and a majority of class wins. However, even with Vizin starting as favourite, Thierry Verhiest’s consistency will mean he’ll be in with a shot at the championship and will hope to get off to a flyer on home soil whilst fellow team member Luxembourg’s Paul Marechal will be working to add constancy to his impressive speed last year. Likewise looking for constancy will be Sweden’s Daniel Palma, while Germany’s Rainer Borgens & Denmark’s Nikolaj Ipsen have both visited the podium previously and will be looking for a repeat and their first wins.

The Production drivers will be back to do what they do best, battling it out side by side, and with McInulty moving up to GT Cup, we can expect some action-packed racing from them at Zolder as they all try to prove themselves to be the one to beat. Mark Yates may come to the opening round feeling quietly confident, but fellow Brits Bailey & Mick Edwards and Dave Carr will be looking to give him a run for his money. Germany’s Kai Leymann returns, looking to improve at every new circuit. Robin Nilsson will be an interesting one to watch for the first few rounds as he finds his mark in the Production class, having been a stalwart in the Exige V6 for many years. For those looking for Cai Cederholm who has been a stalwart of Elise racing in Belgium for 20 years now, he will return at Hockenheim.

After a strong 2022 season, taking 13 out of 14 class wins, 211/Open champion and overall runner-up Frenchman Jean-Pierre Genoud-Prachex will be returning for his 13th year in Lotus Cup Europe, hoping this will be the year he’s crowned overall Champion. However, he will need to watch out for the pink 2-Eleven of wife Nathalie and the Elise ESR of David McInulty as they do their best to knock him down a step or two on the podium. Both Nathalie Genoud-Prachex and David McInulty will be looking for consistent results this season and hoping for a perfect record of race finishes.

Entry Saturday & Sunday is free!

Lotus Cup Europe 2023 Calendar

1-2 AprilZolderBelgium
21-22 AprilHockenheim Germany
12-14 MayOscherslebenGermany
2-4 JuneSpa-FrancorchampsBelgium
14-15 JulySpa-Francorchamps – 50′ raceBelgium
22-24 SeptemberLe MansFrance
6-8 OctoberDijon-PrenoisFrance