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Lotus sued in the US

NEWS STORY
08/05/2012

Mat Coch writes:

Lotus Group is in hot water in the US after an Indycar team filed a civil lawsuit against it. The lawsuit, worth $4.6million, comes as Dragon Racing seeks "redress for fraud, breach of contract and other unlawful acts" from Group Lotus PLC and Lotus Cars Limited, trading as Lotus Motorsports.

The dispute surrounds Dragon Racing's allegation that Lotus failed to supply two chassis to the team which is run by Roger Penske's son, Jay. It's also suggested the late delivery of engines has led to limited testing and therefore poor reliability and performance. Dragon's claim is therefore not only to recover the costs it incurred by purchasing chassis from a third party but also to cover potentially lost earnings as a result of the team's reduced performance as a result.

Dragon cites the corporate reshuffle at Lotus coupled with promises that were never kept for the collapse of the pair's relationship. The deal between the two companies would have seen one of the teams cars, that driven by former Toro Rosso driver Sebastien Bourdais, decked out in black and gold similar to the Lotus F1 team.

There are a number of questions surrounding Lotus Group at the moment as the Malaysian government looks to offload the loss making company, which is currently owned by the state-owned Proton car company. Proton has recently given the Lotus Renault F1 team (which is operated by Genii Capital) a $48.4million loan, secured against the F1 teams assets and with an option to acquire 10% of the team should it default on its repayments. Proton also has the right to buy 10% of the team.

It is expected that Dragon Racing, which officially severed ties with Lotus at the end of April, will have Chevrolet engines in time for the Indianapolis 500 at the end of the month. Fellow Indycar outfit Team Barracuda-BHA also parted ways with Lotus at the same time.

No date has yet been set for the hearing, the claim only submitted to the California Superior Court on Friday, though it would seem Team Barracuda-BHA won't be the only ones looking on with interest.

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