Lotus announces factory partner IndyCar teams
Lotus Motorsport announced at the Los Angeles Auto Show that Dreyer & Reinbold Racing, Bryan Herta Autosport and HVM Racing will utilize its twin turbocharged V-6 engine for the 2012 IZOD IndyCar Series season.
|Robbie Buhl, Dennis Reinbold, Keith Wiggins and Bryan Herta|
Additionally, engine supply partnership agreements will enable Lotus Motorsport to build long-term technical and commercial, marketing and promotional collaborations with the three teams.
Last November at the automotive show, Lotus announced it would join Chevrolet and Honda as engine manufacturers for 2012. Group Lotus, based in Norfolk, England, has competed in a variety of motorsports series, including Indy car racing, since Colin Chapman founded the company in 1948. Jim Clark drove a Lotus chassis to victory in the 1965 Indianapolis 500. A partner with KV Racing Technology the past two seasons, this will be the first time Lotus has produced an engine for Indy car competition.
Engine manufacturer competition for the first time in the series since 2005 complements the new 2012 IZOD IndyCar Series chassis.
"Exactly 12 months on, we are here with an all new Lotus engine and three teams, ready to go," Group Lotus Director of Motorsports Operations Miodrag Kotur said. "The numbers that the engine is already achieving in our dyno testing are extremely encouraging, so our hard work is well and truly paying off.
"These partnerships with Bryan Herta Autosport, Dreyer & Reinbold Racing and HVM Racing mean a great deal to Lotus Motorsport and mark the start of a new chapter for Lotus in the IZOD IndyCar Series. We're thrilled that these already successful and illustrious teams have chosen Lotus, as we believe that our capabilities as a partner will pay dividends for them in the future.
"These three teams have immediately become part of the Lotus legend and have joined us in our journey as one of the most innovative and successful sports and racing car brands in the world."
The Lotus V-6, which has been designed and is undergoing testing at Engine Development Ltd. in the UK -- a company owned by longtime Indy car engine builder John Judd -- is expected to make its on-track debut in early January.
"We have also managed to produce a very light powerplant, in the true spirit of Lotus," Kotur said. "However, we are keen to test the package on track and look forward to our first test in early January, slightly later than originally planned but designed to give us more time to fine-tune our package before taking to the track."
Lotus will open a U.S. base of operations in Indianapolis early in 2012 for support and logistics.
"Despite the choices, once it was apparent that Lotus would produce an engine it was a clear decision for us to run with them," said HVM Racing owner Keith Wiggins, whose team fielded Simona de Silvestro in the No. 78 car this past season. "I have great respect, confidence and enthusiasm in the product they will produce. I have good historical knowledge of the companies involved and their abilities. Being the first team to commit reflects this and being an integral part of the Lotus development process is important to the re-establishment of HVM as a leading team, this time in the IZOD IndyCar Series."
Dreyer & Reinbold Racing is planning to run two full-time cars in the 2012 IZOD IndyCar Series season with an additional entry for the Indianapolis 500.
"To enter into a partnership with Lotus as a factory partner team is a huge step for Dreyer & Reinbold Racing," team co-owner Dennis Reinbold said. "In working closely with the team at Lotus over the past few months, we have had unique access and awareness of their strong commitment to the IndyCar Series and the Indianapolis 500. Many of our collective efforts are already underway and we could not be more enthusiastic about this off-season's testing and development program."