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DATE News (chronologically)
02/16/12
irl
2012 IndyCar Silly Season - Seven teams yet to finalize UPDATE #15 According to our 2012 IndyCar Silly Season page, there are still seven teams who have yet to finalize their 2012 program as IndyCar rides the momentum from this week's State of the Series program in Indianapolis:
  1. KV Racing: Have cars and Chevy engines. Have yet to formally announce Rubens Barrichello
  2. Conquest Racing: Have car, no engine. Sponsorship not yet in place.  Likely to start at Indy 500
  3. Dale Coyne Racing: Have cars and Honda engines. Close to announcing James Jakes to return alongside Justin Wilson
  4. Michael Shank Racing: Have car and Lotus engine, but Paul Tracy's sponsor has not come through
  5. Rahal Letterman Lanigan Racing: Have cars and Honda engines, close to announcing GP2 driver Filippe in 2nd seat, and possible Michel Jourdain in a 3rd
  6. Sam Schmidt/Davey Hamilton Racing: Merging teams have cars and Honda engines, close to announcing 2nd driver alongside Simon Pagenaud
  7. Sarah Fisher Racing: Has car but no engines.  Newgarden is signed as well as sponsor.

Although it's unlikely, too bad Michael Shank Racing and Sarah Fisher Racing could not merge their single car teams and form a 2-car Lotus team with Newgarden and Tracy as teammates.  Rookie Newgarden would benefit from having veteran Tracy as a teammate.

Alex Tagliani
01/09/12
According to this Canoe.ca article, as we suspected, Alex Tagliani will drive for Bryan Herta Autosport in 2012.  The team will issue an official statement this morning to confirm the hiring of Quebec driver for a period of two years

"Everything is finalized. I'll run for Bryan Herta," said Tagliani. "I am very pleased with this association.

"My relationship with Bryan was always very friendly and I felt from the beginning of our discussions, he wanted to me in his team."  Our 2012 Indy Car Silly Season page, above, has been updated with Tagliani as 'fact' for Herta's team.

12/19/11 Takuma Sato is optimistic of securing a seat for next year's IndyCar Series after carrying out the manufacturer test for Honda at Sebring last week. Sato has been widely linked to a seat at Rahal Letterman Lanigan, but despite impressing at the test last week, he told speedtv.com that he is not taking anything for granted.

"Until everything is sorted, it's difficult to say where I'll be," he said. "I'm honored to be called for the manufacturer test and it was a worthwhile trip. It was hectic, but everything we're doing is to prepare for next year. Things are looking very positive and I'm very optimistic that I could have a big smile on my face very soon."

12/13/11 According to this speedtv.com article, Dale Coyne, just getting back on his feet after severely breaking his ankle that required 17 screws and steel plates, is close to signing Sebastien Bourdais and James Jakes for full-time rides in 2012, which agrees with what we listed on our 2012 IndyCar Silly Season Page.

12/08/11 Based on this speedtv.com article we have made a few updates to our 2012 IndyCar Silly Season page including Oriol Servia to Foyt, Hinchcliffe to Andretti and Wilson staying at D&R, all listed as very strong rumors according to Robin Miller.

12/06/11 Based on this speedtv.com article we have made a few updates to our 2012 IndyCar Silly Season page.

12/02/11 Bobby Rahal told RACER.com driver announcements for both of the RLL IndyCar and American Le Mans Series programs are expected later this month, but in all likelihood, before Christmas. The IndyCar side should happen first.  “We should be announcing in mid-December, so in about another week or two,” Rahal said. “It will be the first driver, first. We have one car very much ongoing and as soon as that one's tied up, we'll get the second one done.”

Rahal confirmed the drivers who ran for RLL in 2011, Bertrand Baguette, Jay Howard and Pippa Mann, are in the frame, while some other experienced IndyCar stars and some younger drivers are believed to be in the running for the Honda-powered seats.

“We're talking to many people, and there's no shortage of available drivers,” he said. “It should be somebody with experience, for sure.” Racer.com

11/22/11 Dreyer & Reinbold Racing co-owner Dennis Reinbold admitted Tuesday while two cars remains the intention for the team in the 2012 IZOD IndyCar Series, it could run only one full-time entrant. “I know earlier on, we said it would be two full-season and a third at Indy, but that's still up in the air,” he said. “We haven't signed a driver yet. We'll hope to take care of that soon, but we don't know if it will be one or two cars. We're set up for two cars. You try to make sure speed and reliability are both there,” he said. “The reliability falls on Lotus more than us, although Lotus will help with chassis development. It's important to focus on the engineering side and really get it right,” he added. “We didn't have a good year in 2011, and were disappointed in our results. We've made some personnel changes. It's time now, we'll rebuild with a real focus on the engineering side.”

“Running two cars is a goal, but I’m pretty sure it’s not going to happen for us in ’12,” Larry Foyt said. “It doesn’t mean we won’t run a second car part-time. There’s a possibility of that, but full-time, it’s not a possibility. It’s something we want for ’13 for sure, but I do have plans to run something with a second car.”  We have updated our 2012 IndyCar Silly Season page for both of these teams.

11/22/11 We already had him penciled in with Rahal on our 2012 IndyCar Silly Season page because we felt he would stay with a Honda powered team, but this speedtv.com article says On Monday, the two-car RLL team confirmed that amongst other drivers, Sato was one of its most recent visitors. Provided a deal is signed with Bobby Rahal’s reinvigorated team, Sato could find himself in just the environment he needs to take the next step as an IndyCar driver. Jay Howard will be Sato's teammate at RLL according to our Silly Season page.

11/17/11 HVM announced their deal with Lotus this morning.

The HVM and Herta cars will carry the Lotus green and yellow livery in 2012.  Expect the two team to collaborate.
11/16/11 According to this Speed.com article, HVM and Bryan Herta Autosport will be formally announced as Lotus runners in a Thursday press conference at the L.A. Auto Show.

“We’ve arrived at an agreement for an engine supply contract and we look forward to announcing it tomorrow,” said Herta, who is expected to name Alex Tagliani as his driver for 2012.

There is also a possibility that Dreyer & Reinbold could join HVM, Herta and Michael Shank Racing with Lotus/Judd power. 

“I know a lot of people are skeptical but I’ve spent a lot of time with those people and I’m very optimistic it will be the better engine,” said HVM's Keith Wiggins, whose Indy-based operation will be renamed Lotus/HVM and get support from the livery made famous by the late Colin Chapman.

The last time open wheel had new equipment was Champ Car in 2007, where Wiggins won twice with Robert Doornbos. Simona de Silvestro, who’s shown flashes of brilliance the past two seasons, will be back in the Nuclear Energy Special for Lotus/HVM but starting from scratch instead of playing catch-up.

“It’s a good opportunity with a new car and new engines,” continued Wiggins, who is still trying to secure sponsorship for a second car.

“It’s good for Simona and for us to be included in the development and testing instead of being at the end of the queue.”

“Ultimately it’s a little disadvantage and we’d like to be out testing right now,” said Wiggins, who admitted the Judd motor was 45 pounds lighter than its competition. “But the second engine is on the dyno and third one is being fitted in the new Dallara so it’s going good.

We have updated our 2012 IndyCar Silly Season page accordingly. [Note: While it may seem a bit farfetched at this juncture, Lotus hired some ex-Ferrari engine designers to do the engine, so don't be surprised if they come out and smoke Honda and Chevy.]

11/14/11 According to this Speed.com article, Sarah Fisher Racing has ordered two 2012 IndyCars so it looks like she will field a team for sure.  We have updated our 2012 IndyCar Silly Season page accordingly.

11/10/11 The Indianapolis 500-winning Bryan Herta Autosport squad is one of three teams in the frame to run in British Racing Green as a Lotus factory operation next season.

The Indianapolis-based team, which won this year's 500 with the late Dan Wheldon on a one-off IndyCar appearance, is among five teams in negotiation to use the British sports-car manufacturer's new V6 engine in the 2012 Izod IndyCar Series, according to Lotus Motorsport boss Claudio Berro. Herta, along with HVM and Dreyer & Reinbold, are known to be those in contention for a factory or support deal.

Berro said, “We are talking to teams at a good level, and I can confirm that we have had close discussions with Herta, HVM and Dreyer & Reinbold. We are also talking to Michael Shank Racing and Conquest Racing.

“There are two types of deal on offer. One is a lease contract and one is a support deal, a commercial agreement, which would mean a team racing its car in green and yellow. I think we can have that.”

Berro would not confirm which teams were in the running for what are believed to be the two factory deals on offer and insisted that no contracts had been signed. He explained that he would be travelling to the United States at the end of this month to firm up arrangements.

“I'd rather not say anything yet because we are in the midst of negotiations,” he said. “I would say that we are very close to putting our deal together.”

HVM is believed to be closest to a factory deal. Its mechanics were understood to be have started building up a new Dallara around a mock-up of the Lotus V6 this week. AutoWeek

11/05/11 We have made some corrections to the Silly Season page.  Simon Pagenaud is already signed with Sam Schmidt Motorsports, and he has an option on Indy Lights champion Josef Newgarden.  We also corrected a couple of sponsors errors.

11/04/11 We inadvertently left off Bryan Herta's team off the Silly Season page.  It has been added. Ditto for the Sarah Fisher team, though with Ed Carpenter starting his own team with his step father Tony George, one has to wonder if the team will be back.

11/04/11 We have started our annual IndyCar Silly Season page.  The 2012 version can be found here.  Check back often for updates.
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