Lotus backers Infinity Racing spoke to three other teams

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Lotus’ newly-confirmed backers, Infinity Racing have confirmed that they spoke to three others teams besides Lotus before eventually signing a deal with the Enstone based team.

The consortium, not to be confused with Infiniti, is led by Mansoor Ijaz, who revealed the discussions after the announcement was made earlier this week.

“We have been looking at Formula One for about two years now,” Ijaz explained to Sports Pro Media. “We looked at three other teams before we decided on Lotus. I won’t mention which ones but we had general discussions and in some cases very specific discussions.”

However, Ijaz praised Lotus’ team spirit, which seems to have been the deciding factor in gaining Infinity’s backing.

“There were two things missing in the other teams we looked at,” he continued. “The first was the element of real team spirit, meaning across the board – vertically as well as horizontally – in terms of the breadth and depth of the team’s capacity – its interconnectedness. I just didn’t see that in any of the other teams that we looked at. The second element was the business brains that run Genii Capital and the business brains that affect the way in which Lotus is managed as a business; these are men cut from the same cloth as I have been throughout my career.

“There was a congruency in the way we thought the business ought to be run. They’ve done an incredibly good job to bring team harmony back to a team that had been fractured by the problems it had before.”

The team has gone through a period of uncertainty following the Crashgate fiasco back in 2008-2009, failing to match its championship winning days as Renault during 2005 and 2006. With Infinity’s backing though, Lotus could be set to return to these dizzying heights with Kimi Raikkonen and Romain Grosjean.

Rebellion confirms LMP1 return, all-star line-up for WEC super season

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Rebellion Racing has confirmed it will return to the LMP1 class of the FIA World Endurance Championship for the 2018/19 ‘super season’ with an all-star line-up featuring Le Mans winners Neel Jani and Andre Lotterer.

Rebellion raced in LMP1 as a privateer between 2009 and 2016 before stepping down to LMP2 for the most recent season, capturing the class titles at the first attempt.

Following a push from the WEC and Automobile Club de l’Ouest (ACO) to make LMP1 more appealing to privateer teams, Rebellion announced on Wednesday it would return to the premier class for the 2018/19 season with a two-car effort.

WEC LMP2 champion Bruno Senna will return with Rebellion next year, as will Mathias Beche, with the pair set to be joined by four new faces.

The most notable arrivals are Porsche factory drivers Lotterer and Jani, both of whom were left without an LMP1 drive following the closure of the German manufacturer’s program at the end of the season.

American racer Gustavo Menezes will also join Rebellion, stepping up after two years in LMP2, while outstanding 2017 rookie Thomas Laurent completes the Swiss team’s line-up.

“I am looking forward to coming back where my endurance career started nine years ago,” said Jani.

“Rebellion Racing played a huge role in my career and also helped me become a factory driver for Porsche. When Porsche stopped in LMP1, it was clear for me that I wanted to race again for Rebellion.

“With the new regulations, I hope we can reach the overall podium at Le Mans and with a bit of luck, maybe we can even grab some wins during the super season of WEC.”

“I am very happy to join the champion Rebellion team,” added three-time Le Mans winner Lotterer.

“The LMP1 project is very exciting and to be able to go on with the 24 Hours of Le Mans and the FIA WEC challenge is something I did not want to miss.

“I am motivated and looking forward to have a great time with great people there.”