A third automobile manufacturer will join the IZOD IndyCar Series in 2012, as Lotus will build an engine and aero kit for the next-generation car in the series.
This will be the first time Lotus has produced an engine for IndyCar competition. The addition of Lotus gives the IZOD IndyCar Series manufacturer representation from the U.S. (Chevrolet), Europe (Lotus) and Asia (Honda).
“Lotus is unique in the automotive world, no other car company has been more successful in such a wide variety of motorsports discipline, whether it is Le Mans, World Rally, Sportscars, F1 of course and IndyCar,” said Dany Bahar, CEO of Group Lotus. “This year, we teamed up with KV Racing for IndyCar and we will significantly increase our participation next year. However in 2012 IndyCar competitors will have the exciting opportunity to choose an IndyCar with a Lotus engine and body kit, immediately become part of a legacy that is Lotus: one of the most innovative and successful sports and racing car brands in the world.”
Lotus will release engine specifications at a later date.
“Lotus is a renowned name in racing, with a long association with some of the greatest names of motorsports,” said Randy Bernard, CEO of INDYCAR. “We’re honored Lotus has chosen to serve as an engine manufacturer for the first time with us.
“We are excited about the future of Indy car racing with the addition of Chevrolet and Lotus as well as the continued involvement of our longtime engine supplier Honda. The IZOD IndyCar Series has the fastest, most versatile cars and drivers in the world, and now we have engine competition to provide even more excitement for our fans.”
Lotus, based in Norfolk, England, has competed in a variety of motorsports disciplines since the legendary Colin Chapman founded the company in 1952, including Indy car racing, Formula One and sports cars. Jim Clark drove a Lotus chassis to victory in the 1965 Indianapolis 500, and Lotus sponsored the KV Racing Technology car driven by rookie Takuma Sato in the 2010 IZOD IndyCar Series.
“The history and DNA of Lotus is all about extracting the most performance out of a car in return for maximum efficiency, and we are delighted to offer our engine and aero body kit to the 2012 IZOD IndyCar Series,” said Claudio Berro, Director of Lotus Motorsport. “We will be using the knowledge gained from our extensive research into E85 biofuel and turbo-charged engines to ensure we extract the maximum performance.
“As you would expect from the company that pioneered aerodynamics in sports car and F1 racing over the years our aero body kit will also be a world class solution, So all in all, will the 2012 Lotus IndyCar will be as innovative and revolutionary as the Lotus Type 38 that won in 1965 and changed Indy forever? Maybe – we’ll have to wait and see!”
The IZOD IndyCar Series announced in June that that its next generation of engines would be more powerful and efficient than the current formula – along with being relevant to the public and automobile industry.
The 2012 platform allows manufacturers to produce engines with a maximum of six cylinders. The engines will be turbo charged producing between 550 and 700 horsepower to suit the diverse set of tracks on which the IZOD IndyCar Series competes. All engines will run on E85 with additional details on the fuel platform to be announced at a later date.
The new engine strategy was based on a recommendation from the ICONIC (Innovative, Open-Wheel, New, Industry-Relevant, Cost-Effective) Advisory Committee, which was tasked with reviewing, researching and making a recommendation to the sanctioning body on the next generation IZOD IndyCar Series engine and chassis.
Committee members include Brian Barnhart, Tony Cotman, Gil de Ferran, Eddie Gossage, Rick Long, Tony Purnell and Neil Ressler. It was mediated by retired Air Force Gen. William R. Looney III.