Grand Prix racing ... and Team Lotus and Essex Petroleum have unveiled their new car?
GV Paradis Latin Club in Paris
SV INTERIOR stage show
GV New Lotus Eighty-One is lowered from the ceiling
SV Car lowered onto stage and performers surround it
SV Mario Andretti gets into driver's seat and performers wheel car around stage (3 shots)
SV Newsmen take pictures of car
GV AND CU Andretti in driver's seat surrounded by women in bathing suits
GV Car raised on pulleys and carried off
SPORT: MOTOR RACING
Script is copyright Reuters Limited. All rights reserved
Background: Grand Prix racing ... and Team Lotus and Essex Petroleum have unveiled their new car for next season ... the Lotus Eighty-One. Motor racing experts said the new car closely resembles the Lotus Seventy-Nine, which won the World Championship in 1978. The unveiling took place aimed the razzle-dazzle of a stage show at a Paris nightclub on Friday (13 December).
SYNOPSIS: At the Paradis Latin Club, the early part of the presentation appealed more to devotees of the champagne circuit than to dedicated motor racing buffs.
The sleekest and most interesting body of the evening belonged to the car itself, gleaming in silver, red and blue. It replaces the radical Lotus Eighty, which fared poorly in the 1979 season that was dominated by Saudi-Williams and Ferrari. Lotus's main driver, Mario Andretti, will be praying for greater success behind this wheel than he had last season, without a single Grand Prix win. His number two is expected to be the young Italian, Elio de Angelis.
Essex Petroleum is a Monaco-based oil refining and distribution company. Last season, it joined Lotus as co-sponsors with the Italian drinks firm, martini and Rossi, which has now withdrawn. Essex aren't saying how much their sponsorship is worth, but they spent some thirty thousand pounds (about sixty thousand dollars) entertaining five hundred people at this launch party. Motoring experts calculate Essex's sponsorship will be three million pounds (six million dollars) over the next two years.