The Lotus Renault GP team paid a visit to Proton’s headquarters in Shah Alam today, with the entourage led by LRGP’s managing director and team principal Eric Boullier, accompanied by key representatives of his senior management team.

Joining the visit were the team’s driver Vitaly Petrov and reserve driver Bruno Senna. Also present to represent Group Lotus was its director of corporate affairs, Gino Rosato, and Group Lotus brand ambassador Jean Alesi.

The visit, a follow-up to a trip made by Proton’s senior management team to the LRGP facility in Enstone in the UK earlier this year, provided the Formula One team an insight into the Malaysian car manufacturing industry and underlined a partnership envisioned to extend beyond the realm of F1.

The Proton team, headed by managing director Datuk Seri Syed Zainal Abidin, who was accompanied by the Group’s senior management team, gave the LRGP team an exclusive tour around Proton’s Research & Development facilities and the production lines at the main plant.

Syed Zainal said that Proton’s association with LRGP aims to explore mutually and significantly beneficial opportunities. “As partners, it is important to be acquainted about each other’s operations, business strategies and plans. This will also give both parties the opportunity to explore how else we can help each other and benefit from one another,” he said.

He also announced that a select and elite group of Proton’s engineers will soon be joining the LRGP family under an engineer exchange programme designed to facilitate the exchange of knowledge, skills and experience.

“Valuable exposure in a specialised environment and the opportunity to be involved in the development of technologically-advanced performance vehicles will significantly strengthen our engineering and technological capabilities, which we would like to see applied and integrated into the future generation of Proton cars,” Syed Zainal said.

“The involvement in F1 has clearly had a strong and positive impact with the handful of car manufacturers that have been involved in the sport since the early fifties. With Group Lotus’s involvement in F1, I’m certain that Proton will reap the rewards of this relationship, not least through technical, engineering and marketing opportunities and as a major business platform too,” Boullier added.