Lotus confirms IndyCar engine for 2012
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. All three engines will power the new IndyCar Safety Cell that is being developed by Dallara Automobili with input from current drivers and team principals. The platform allows for the design and implementation of aero kits around the rolling chassis. Dallara officials broke ground on the Indianapolis production facility Nov. 16.
“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.
“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.
THE MODERATOR: Today we are pleased to have a major announcement. We have Randy Bernard, CEO, IndyCar; Dany Bahar, Group Lotus; and racing great Parnelli Jones, winner of the 1963 Indy 500, who drove a Lotus in 1964 and 1965.
Right now please welcome Randy Bernard, CEO of IndyCar, to share today's exciting news.
RANDY BERNARD: Good afternoon. It's another exciting day. I'm loving these days.
Last March, one thing we learned really quick was what fans wanted: they wanted to see the spec series go away. That was the number one thing the fans said.
We were very excited to announce last week that it would no longer be a spec series with two engines and we're even more proud to announce today that there will be three engines in 2012.
I think the most exciting part for me is the fact that Lotus has never, ever run their own engine at the Indy 500. To me, that will be another special, exciting element to this announcement today.
I'd like to thank the ICONIC Advisory Commitment who helped us. Last March we gave them 75 days to articulate a strategy on the next car for 2012. It was unbelievable the amount of time and passion they put in that. We owe this 2012 season to them because it was them that made these decisions.
At this time what I'd like to do is bring up the CEO of Group Lotus, Mr. Dany Bahar.
DANY BAHAR: Thank you very much, Randy.
It's for us as well a very exciting day. I guess it's a very exciting year with the re-launch of our brand introducing the new product lineup for the next five years. It's been quite a busy time, and probably we are having busy times ahead of us.
What we tried to do with the Lotus brand is to pay our heritage and our past justice. I believe our heritage is all about motor racing. As you could see, this is all about motor racing. We believe that our road car should have a significant connection with the motorsports, motor racing program. That's why we have also announced recently we will be going and racing in LeMans, GT2, GT4 car racing, obviously IndyCar, and maybe some more to come.
So easy to understand that the main supporting activity for Lotus sports cars will be, was always, motor racing. Therefore, I'm really particularly proud to be here today and to say that we take racing seriously, and we don't just want to put a sticker on a car that we did not have an influence to build. We want to really fight and compete with the big guys.
But we have a Lotus way to do things. We always try to understand what we are getting into. That's why we started this year with a very small activity with Takuma Sato with one car to understand IndyCar racing and to see whether there was an opportunity for us to become a real contender. We made the brave decision, yes, this is where we want to be.
We believe in the series. We believe the series is developing very, very well. I think it fits perfectly very well our activities and strategies in the U.S., which is our biggest market.
We took the decision, as I said, to build our own engine. Not only that, but building obviously our own engine, we are going to be the underdog. We are going to fight Chevy and Honda. But that's fine, it's all about competition. Not only that, but by 2012, we will be designing our own chassis and aero kit.
We want to compete. We would like to design our own cars and hopefully maybe other teams can profit from our design capabilities. That's why we start already from today investing money and also capacities in developing the right aero kit and engine for 2012.
Let me tell you that although we did not have a lot of success this year, it was a very interesting season for us to understand. Another decision we made regarding IndyCar is that we will be expanding our presence in IndyCar with our partner, KV Racing Technology, and it will be a presence that you will probably see three or maybe even more cars on the grid.
Again, I would like to thank Randy for the opportunity that he and obviously the IndyCar organization have given us to be part of this, to be a competitor of this, because that's the only way you can show that you are a competitor, by doing your own things. I hope we will succeed and I hope we will fulfill the expectations.
Thank you very much.
RANDY BERNARD: The next person I'd like to introduce has become a hero of mine in the last nine months. He's a legend in our sport. 1963, he won the Indy 500. 1964 and '65 he ran a Lotus. A lot of people remember that Jim Clark won in '65. A lot of people didn't realize Parnelli Jones won second in a Lotus. Lotus won first and second in 1965.
At this time I'd like to bring up Mr. Parnelli Jones.
PARNELLI JONES: Thank you. It's really great to see that Lotus is coming back into the sport, into (INDYCAR), in Indianapolis because certainly obviously we've been absent from that for a long time with having different competitors. We need something like this to make Indianapolis and (INDYCAR) proud.
I think Lotus is playing a great part in this. Like Randy said, I was fortunate to win three or four races in the Lotus and finish second the year Jim Clark won. I had my great relationship with Lotus at that time. Of course, they were powered by a Ford engine.
It's nice to see them coming back with an engine and chassis package that will be competitive with Chevrolet and, of course, Honda.
THE MODERATOR: I want to thank everyone for taking the time to come out today. A very exciting announcement for IndyCar and Lotus.
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