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18 June 2012

Lotus LMP2 at Le mans, 2012

Day 1, practice and qualifying

#31 Thomas Holzer (GER) – Mirco Schultis (GER) – Luca Moro (ITA)

Free Practice
#31 Position 18 (LMP2) Lap time 3:47.061 (Holzer)

Qualifying Session 1
#31 Position 16 (LMP2) Lap time 3:48.067(Holzer)

Lotus LMP2 successfully completed its first day at the 80th edition of the 24 Hours of Le Mans, the third round of the FIA World Endurance Championship.
Thomas Holzer, Mirco Schultis and Luca Moro added more valuable mileage, a total of 980 kilometres, on the team’s tally and fulfilled the requirements to run a minimum of five laps at night at the Circuit des 24 Heures.
The team was testing the different tyre compounds in order to learn about the tyre wear. Another target of the day was to see how the car and tyres behave at night and to find the right set-up for the qualifying next sessions and the race.

Thomas Holzer, Race driver #31:
“We are pleased about today’s outcome. We achieved what we wanted, to complete the necessary five laps at night. It is my first time at the 24 Hours of Le Mans and didn’t run here before apart from the test day prior to the race. It takes some laps until you are acquainted with the track and adapt to the circumstances. Tomorrow, there will be two more sessions, but qualifying is not so important here because the race lasts 24 long hours.”

Mirco Schultis, Race driver #31:
“I got experienced to the track today step by step. Driving at night is completely different here, but amazing. I am very proud to be able to race at this legendary race having fulfilled the requirements running five laps at night. I hope to improve tomorrow and I am looking forward to the next sessions.”

Luca Moro, Race driver #31:
“It is my first time at Le Mans and I am happy to be here. I completed the mandatory five laps at night, so I am allowed to race. It is good fun to drive at night, but also quite demanding because it is quite dark at the track. There is still some room for improvement and I hope that tomorrow’s qualifying will be better.”

Day 2, Qualifying

#31 Thomas Holzer (GER) – Mirco Schultis (GER) – Luca Moro (ITA)

Qualifying Session 2
#31 no lap time

Qualifying Session 3
#31 Position 17 (LMP2) Lap time 3:45.664 (Holzer)

Mixed fortunes for Lotus at the second day of the 24 Hours of Le Mans.
In the second qualifying, Luca Moro had to stop the car on his out lap immediately after the start of the session because of an engine failure. The mechanics did an incredible job and managed to change the engine in less than 50 minutes.
The Lotus LMP2 car was ready for the third and final qualifying and the drivers got more track time. All in all, it was a decent qualifying result for the team that is now looking forward to the race and hoping to finish in a good position.

Thomas Holzer, Race driver #31:
“It was a good third qualifying today and I was able to improve lap by lap. It is a shame that we were not running in second qualifying and we lost valuable time out on track. Maybe we could have done better, but it is just qualifying, what counts is the race. A big thank you to the mechanics which did an unbelievable job by changing the engine in record time.”

Mirco Schultis, Race driver #31:
“First of all, I would like to thank the mechanics who did a great job today. It is a shame that we could not run in second qualifying and we lost important track time. It will be a long race and everything is possible, I am looking forward to it.”

Luca Moro, Race driver #31:
“Unfortunately, we couldn’t run in the second qualifying session due to an engine failure. But the mechanics worked very fast and managed to fix the car for the third qualifying. After that, we did not take any risk and did some laps to make sure that the car is okay.”

#31 Retire

Unfortunately, Lotus will not cross the finish line at the 80th edition of the 24 Hours of Le Mans.

After about half of the race, the car had to come back to the pits due to a gearbox failure. The crew tried for some hours to fix the car, but without success.

Until that time, the car was running good and without major problems. In between, Lotus was running 14th in LMP2 class.

The team is very disappointed about the retirement.