It ain't over 'till the fat lady sings. Or so the saying goes, but while the British motorsport engineering firm may specialize in lightweight composites, make no mistake about it: In the global racing arena, Lola Cars is a heavyweight.
In addition to sports prototypes, Formula One racers and a variety of other racing machinery, Lola's history in Indy cars goes back all the way to the 1960s. Along the way, Lola has provided motivation to such notables as Graham Hill, Al Unser, Newman/Hass, Penske and Chip Ganassi, to name just a few. Now, following the competing designs unveiled by Ganassi-led upstart DeltaWing and arch-rival Dallara, Lola has announced its own bid for the new IRL chassis.
Less of a radical change certainly than the DeltaWing concept, Lola's proposal has focused on two key areas: aerodynamic stability and design adaptability. Instead of one design, the Lola package includes two alternatives, allowing teams to choose and thus imbuing the field with more variety than existing one-make series, IndyCar included. Both designs, however, have been optimized to reduce turbulence in their wake, allowing for closer following, drafting and passing – key factors in increasing the level of competition, particularly on high-speed super-speedways.
The most intriguing element of the Lola design, however, is its adaptability. The concept is designed for use – with minimal modification – in both the top-tier IndyCar series and the lower Indy Lights category, allowing junior teams to graduate to the senior series with a few simple changes. Further details are at your disposal in the press release after the jump, with high-res images in the gallery below.
INTRODUCING THE B12/00 and B12/01 LOLA INDYCARS
Lola USA today reveals;
Delivering advanced technology and capturing the legendary IndyCar spirit with practical affordability, Lola USA today announce additional detail and present the first images of the proposed Lola B12/00 and B12/01 IndyCars for the 2012 IZOD IndyCar Series.
The 'total solution' package will deliver two attractive and aero performance balanced racecars that will deliver a return to close and gladiatorial racing. Safety, efficiency, styling and affordability have been at the forefront of the Lola special projects team that have been working on this project throughout 2009 to date.
Lola Indycar - Visual Variations
At the heart of Lola's proposal is the dual body style concept developed extensively by Lola engineers. This work has already received very positive comments from the IndyCar fan fraternity. This concept will give exciting visual variety to the IZOD IndyCar grid and stimulate teams, drivers and fans alike.
The two styles highlighted in the image (right) will be performance matched but use the same common chassis. Parity in aero performance will be maintained across the ride height range to ensure that no advantage is gained by either kit. Both styles of cars can be raced without technical advantage and with different engines. Common parts throughout will enable teams to switch upper surface styles should they choose to do so.
Work continues within Lola on futuristic designs to continue to challenge thinking and for sure to become more acceptable in better economic times.
IndyCar/Indy Lights Commonality
The Lola chassis for IndyCar will achieve cohesion by being eligible for the Firestone Indy Lights Championship. This will in essence mean that Indy Lights teams will be able to graduate more cost effectively to the IZOD Indycar Series and teams will find it more commercially attractive to enter cars in each series and to entice new entries in to competition.
In addition, the ease of changing the car specifications from one series to the other will ensure high quality and full entries for the Indy 500.
Aero evaluation and increased drafting
Central to Lola's extensive aerodynamic research has been the necessity to guarantee close and exciting racing. Wheel to wheel duels on the variety of circuits that the IZOD Indycar Series races on will become the norm rather than the exception. Focusing on the rear under-body of the Lola Indycar, designers have found a cost effective and simple breakthrough to ensure that there is a minimum wake for following car. This means that drafting and slipstreaming will be in the drivers own hands rather than that of the aerodynamics itself.
Safety has always been a key part of Lola's 51-year history with the first of Lola's three Indy 500 victories coming in 1966 with Graham Hill and the T90.
A program on reducing the susceptibility of a 'take-off' scenario has been conducted to further protect drivers and spectators. Lola USA has pinpointed specific areas using CFD methods to ensure a high yaw angle stability is maintained on the car. Less variation to total aero load on the rear wing will be optimised with pitch angle changes.
Enhanced rear crash structures, a long front nosebox and increased head protection have also been a focus.
Lola USA. Racers working with Racers!
As well as releasing more technical detail Lola today also confirm that they will be selecting a new assembly facility in the USA. Discussions with US business partners for component supply are at an advanced level. Lola are mindful of supporting as many existing US jobs as can be achieved through this opportunity.
Lola have been working with and commissioned high-tech universities to work on environmentally sustainable materials and other green technologies. Maximum effort will also be utilised by Lola engineers to ensure that minimum energy is lost by the racecars when on track.
What will the 2012 Lola IndyCar mean for the fans?
"For Lola it is imperative that fans enjoy the cars and a great racing spectacle at trackside and on TV," said Lola Executive Chairman, Martin Birrane. "Lola have endeavoured to capture the great spirit and heritage of IndyCar racing in its thorough commercial and engineering studies. With its vast experience in producing powerful single seaters Lola are proud to be considered as a partner in writing the next chapter for the IndyCar nation."