Lotus sponsorship deals in every motorsport series

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    Right now Lotus Cars are exploring every imaginable series of motorsport in a bid to promote their brand ahead of the new model range. It is a fairly crazy plan, but a uniform brand has been created across many differant major race series.

    No matter what series viewers are watching, chances are there is going to be a black and gold car amongst the grid, and it is obvious that the black and gold cars are Lotus Cars.

    Sponsorship of:
    Lotus F1 Team
    Lotus ART GP2 Team
    Lotus ART GP3 Team
    Lotus LMP2 Team
    Lotus Blancpain Series GT Team

    Their strategy of sponsoring and pairing up with established teams might upset the more fanatic fan, but it’s enough to convince casual fans that they have factory teams. Many viewers of F1 next season will assume the Lotus F1 Team is a manufacturer in the same way Toyota F1 racing was – even though one car company paid £20m per year to have their name in the sport and the other paid £200m per year! There’s no high capital costs either because everything is in place: they don’t have to spend lots on infrastructure and the employees know their place in the team. So there is more chance of quick success – all good for the brand image.

    It’s still a lot to take on though when their only sources are income are:
    Selling Indy Car engines
    Selling Type 125 track cars
    Selling Evora and Elise road cars
    Selling customer GT Evoras
    Huge Bank Loans

    How much do you reckon they spend in total on all the differant motorsporft sponsorship deals they have right now?

    I think their £20m F1 deal will be their biggest individual deal, and the total of them all comes to £50m.


    You forget the services they provide other manufacturers for chassis set-up, and I assume Tesla pays them a lot seeing as it is an Elise.


    Wanted the Hennessey Venom GT based on an Exige too?


    They don’t now obviously, but they must have made a reasonable amount of money from the VX220.


    They are sponsoring several teams in IndyCar too, including one team that will run in the black and gold colours, so that’s another one there.


    It does look rather like a bubble that will burst.


    It does look rather like a bubble that will burst

    Proabably quite spectacularly. Is Danny Bahar behind it all?


    Something else I’ve already posted but it’s probably better to say it here anyways.

    Lotus did get some money off the British Government to improve their manufacturing and development facilities. Granted it was only £10.4 million which is only 20% of how much their spending on motorsport. But think about it, if Lotus already had this money put some aside to develop their facilities they may now be able to splash out a bit more on their motorsport projects?


    If any one of these huge multi million pound loans falls through it’s over.

    Prisoner Monkeys

    I can only imagine that Dany Bahar is going for the “price penetration” approach, though using the Lotus brand name rather than price. One of the theories of marketing is that when it comes to launching a new product, you can go about it in two ways: price skimming, or price penetration. Skimming involves pricing yourself at the top of the market, targeting a niche of consumers who are willing to pay for what they perceive to be quality in the product. Penetration, on the other hand, involves undercutting the competition and stealing away market share with a cheaper product. Both skimming and penetration have their own advantages and disadvantages; penetration makes it easier to build up a market base, but once you start trying to put the price up, you’ll start losing consumers quickly as their entire introduction to your product was based on the low price. Bahar, I suspect, is trying to do this with the Lotus brand: penetrating the motorsport community on such a level that Lotus has an enormous presence, and then use that as the core of their marketing campaign for their road cars. Once the next generation of Lotus road cars goes into production, the manfacturer’s motorsport connections will no doubt be emphasised.

    As risky as it is, Bahar deserves credit for the position he’s put the brand in. If you look at every series Lotus Cars has entered as a sponsor, they all have one thing in common: success. Lotus F1 has a former World Champion and the reigning GP2 champion racing for them. Lotus ART regularly dominate both the GP2 and GP3 series, and is one of the most successful teams in both categories. So there’s a lot of success, and a lot of potential for success, in the teams they are associated with. From a pure marketing standpoint, that’s exactly what you want. It hasn’t gone as smoothly as they would like, though. They haven’t really attached themselves to a big-name Indycar team like Chip Ganassi or a driver like Will Power, and they got a bit of bad publicity when they were late delivering their engine and so lost KV Racing Technology. Likewise, they recruited the designer of the Peugeot 908 to design their LMP car, but then quietly shelved the project (though the Lola chassis is a good starting point for them, and Kolles is an experienced Le Mans team). And a lot is hinging on their Blancpain entry, since it’s probably going to be one of their own cars – an Evora? – prepared for racing. They can get away with this, though, as Indycar, Le Mans and other endurance series are not as set in the public consciousness as the likes of Formula 1.

    From a pure marketing strategy, I think this is utterly brilliant – Bahar has found a way to get Lotus Cars maximum exposure in motorsport for a minimal outlay; he’s probably got the company sponsoring all of these teams and buying the naming rights to them for less than the price of setting up a single team. But strategy will only get you so far; I’m sure Napoleon had a fantastic strategy in mind when he went to Trafalgar. The potential for disaster comes in the execution of the project. Lotus is spending a lot of money, but they’re not really producing anything on their own, and they’re probably going to struggle to break even on it until they can start getting cars out there. A lot is riding on Lotus’ Formula 1 project, because if that falters, then it doesn’t matter how well they do in GP2, GP3, Indycar, Le Mans and the Blancpain series – another season in Formula 1 like 2011, and the whole exercise is going to derail in a very messy fashion.

    At the end of the day, I think history is going to remember Lotus’ motorsport plans as being either pure brilliance or an unmitigated disaster.


    I certainly don’t object to Lotus participating in other championships – in fact I welcome it, and I like that they’re using a consistent identity across them all.

    It would be great to see their F1 drivers taking some of their other machinery for a spin or, better yet, doing some races.

    I just fear it’s not sustainable. And when you read about Bahar trying to raise half a billion pounds in debt funding, you have to wonder.

    Prisoner Monkeys

    It would be great to see their F1 drivers taking some of their other machinery for a spin or, better yet, doing some races.

    I think we’ll at least get to see all of the cars together at some point. Possibly at the E20 launch, since that would be the most high-profile event, and thus it makes the most sense to put them all together. I would happily download high-res shots of the E20, GP2 and GP3, DW12 and Lola cars to serve as a background for my laptop.


    It looks like Bahar is going for win it all or lose it all strategy. He wants to improve and level-up the prestige of the company and his using every race series possible to do that before he puts his new models on the market.
    The problem is that the team has to start succeeding in those racing activities to get the new image as fast and as good and not just run in them because he borrowed a lot of money to do all that and the bills will be coming.
    With the huge amount of money he borrowed he needs really good sales not just decent.

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