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Lotus Renault GP launches its first car in the black (and gold)

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Filed under: Motorsports, Lotus, Renault, Racing

2011 Lotus Renault GP R31 - Click above for high-res image gallery

The Lotus Renault GP team has had a lot of names and owners over the years, and even more liveries. Not to be confused with Team Lotus (also powered by Renault engines this year) that unveiled its new green and yellow car we saw yesterday, and with which the the company is still embroiled in a naming rights dispute, Lotus Renault GP is the most recent incarnation of the Toleman team that operated in the early 80s, which then became Benetton before flying the Renault team flag under which it raced until the end of last season.

Following the Spygate scandal that shook up the team's leadership and saw the withdrawal of its sponsors, the participation of Group Lotus as title sponsor - together with Genii Capital's investment - comes just in the nick of time for the troubled (erstwhile championship-winning) outfit.

The new car bears the name R31, showing continuity with the team it succeeds, and the black and gold livery that the other Lotus outfit was initially planning to run and that hearkens back to the iconic JPS livery which the original Lotus team ran under Renault power back in the 80s.

An evolution of the Renault R30 that raced last year, the R31 was unveiled in the pit lane at Valencia where the first pre-season test session is now underway. Also like last year - and after much speculation over the direction they'd take - the R31 will be driven by the Eastern European pairing of Robert Kubica and Vitaly Petrov.

The team has also lined up an extensive test-driving crew including Bruno Senna (sacked from the race seat at HRT), Romain Grosjean (who drove for Renault in 2009 after securing the GP2 Asia Series title), Fairuz Fauzy (the Malaysian driver who bolted the other Lotus-Renault team), aspiring Sino-Dutch driver Ho-Ping Tung and Le Mans Series champion Jan Charouz. Follow the jump for the full press release and scope out the images in the gallery below for more.

Gallery: 2011 Lotus Renault R31

[Source: Lotus Renault GP]Continue reading Lotus Renault GP launches its first car in the black (and gold)

Lotus Renault GP launches its first car in the black (and gold) originally appeared on Autoblog on Tue, 01 Feb 2011 08:30:00 EST. Please see our terms for use of feeds.

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