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Mortara, Valsecchi, Prost land Lotus test outings 24 Oct 2012

Edoardo Mortara (ITA), Audi Sport Team Rosberg, Playboy Audi A4 DTM (2008). DTM, Rd8, Oschersleben, Germany, 16-18 September 2011. Davide Valsecchi (ITA) Team Lotus Reserve Driver.
Formula One World Championship, Rd 2, Malaysian Grand Prix, Practice Day, Sepang, Malaysia, Friday, 8 April 2011 Nicolas Prost (FRA). Goodwood Festival of Speed, Goodwood, England, 29 June - 1 July 2012. Eric Boullier (FRA) Lotus F1 Team Principal.
Formula One World Championship, Rd16, Korean Grand Prix, Practice, Korea International Circuit, Yeongam, South Korea, Friday, 12 October 2012

Edoardo Mortara and Davide Valsecchi will join the previously announced Nicolas Prost for Lotus’s Abu Dhabi young driver test, which will take place following the 2012 Formula 1 Etihad Airways Abu Dhabi Grand Prix at the Yas Marina circuit next month.

Swiss-born Mortara, who now holds dual French and Italian nationality, is the only driver to have won the Macau Grand Prix twice, in a racing career which has included taking the Formula Three Euroseries title in 2010. He has just finished fifth in the 2012 DTM championship.

“This is a fantastic opportunity for me to join Lotus F1 Team and especially to be driving the E20 on track in Abu Dhabi,” said the 25 year-old. “I can’t wait to be in action and working with a team which is performing so well this season and has such good prospects for the future. Contributing to the team’s programme is likely to be highly rewarding; I’m eager to learn from the experience and highlight my potential.”

Reigning GP2 Series champion Valsecchi, 25, has previously tested F1 cars for HRT and Team Lotus (now Caterham), including a Friday practice session for the latter at the 2011 Malaysian Grand Prix. In addition to his 2012 GP2 title, the Italian also clinched the 2009-2010 GP2 Asia Series championship, as well as contesting races in Auto GP and the Le Mans Series.

“For me this is a great honour, as I am eager to showcase my talents and demonstrate that I am ready to take the next step in my career after winning the GP2 Series,” he said. “Lotus F1 Team is a great team with a superb group of engineers, so it’s great to be getting out on track with them in Abu Dhabi.”

Prost - son of four-time world champion Alain - has just won the FIA World Endurance Trophy and is currently third in the overall driver classification. He finished as top privateer at the 24 Hours of Le Mans in both 2011 and 2012, recently claimed overall victory in the prestigious Petit Le Mans race and previously clinched the 2008 Formula 3000 Euroseries title.

“I’m really looking forward to driving for Lotus F1 Team at a test in this year’s car, which we have all seen to be strong at so many Grands Prix this year,” said the 31-year-old Frenchman, who drove Lotus’s 2010 car earlier this month. “It’s a great honour for me as a driver and I want to do the very best job I can to assist the team with development, as well as giving good feedback for any future projects.”

Commenting on Lotus’s choices for the test, team principal Eric Boullier said: “I think we have a great line-up of drivers to work with the team in Abu Dhabi and it will be very interesting for us to see how they stack-up, especially as we will have all the data from the Grand Prix which takes place the week before.

“Nicolas we know well from his existing work with the team, while Edoardo and Davide are new to us so it should be a productive three days; not just for the drivers, but also the team as we evaluate new parts on the car for our final push at the last two races of the season.”

Prost will kick off Lotus’s test on Tuesday, November 6, with Mortara taking over the car on the Wednesday and Valsecchi on the Thursday.

The other teams expected to test in Abu Dhabi are McLaren, Red Bull, Sauber, Toro Rosso and Caterham. The remainder of the grid carried out their young driver sessions earlier in the year at Magny-Cours in France and Silverstone in the UK.

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