Richie Stanaway (Photo Credit: Renault Sport)

Richie Stanaway (Photo Credit: Renault Sport)

Lotus have joined forces with Gravity-Charouz Racing to compete in the 2012 Formula Renault 3.5 championship.

The team will race under the Lotus name and with a Czech license with New Zealand's Richie Stanaway and Danish driver Marco Sorensen behind the wheel.

Both drivers raced in German F3 last year, with Stanaway ending the season as champion with Sorensen as runner up.

GP3 race winner Stanaway said: “I met the team for the first time during the post-season tests at the end of last year.

“I was very impressed with the operation and the many changes that have taken place within the team and felt very comfortable with them.

“In 2012, we will be happy to represent Lotus, which also competes in Formula One. There will be a big battle in Formula Renault 3.5, as it's shaping up to be a very competitive series and I am really looking forward to it.”

The team are aiming to finish in the top three of the team's championship, after being classified seventh the previous year with Stanaway's countryman Brendon Hartley taking three podiums.

Team mate Sorensen said: “I am very optimistic after last year's test. We have the support of Lotus and that's great.

“I am looking forward to the new single-seater, which will be more powerful compared to last year's specification. I can't wait for the beginning of the season.”

Lotus will unveil its latest single-seaters for the first time during the World Series test at Paul Ricard in France on 13-14 March.

Claudio Berro, Director of Lotus Racing, added: “This is an important project for us.

“In every series we enter, we have strong drivers, a good background, and we aim to achieve the highest positions.

“Here we have a great driver line-up and are looking forward to an interesting and thrilling season. I think both Richie and Marco have a good chance of getting into F1 in the near future.”