Lotus is officially returning to the IndyCar series in 2010 in partnership with engine builder Cosworth and KV Racing. Lotus, as you well know, has a long history with Indy-style open-wheel racing, dating back to the early 1960s. Its exploits include a victory by Jim Clark in 1965 and the all-wheel-drive, turbine-powered cars that arrived a few years later.
A few weeks ago, Lotus announced a revival of its cooperation with Cosworth for both road and race cars. The new collaboration with KV is described as being both technical and commercial. It's not clear at this point what Cosworth will contribute from a technical perspective, since all the current IndyCars run Honda V8s. Perhaps KV will provide a platform upon which Cosworth can test and develop a new engine for the next-generation IndyCar regulations that are in the works.
The green and yellow Lotus/Cosworth-badged car will debut in two weeks at the St. Petersburg, Florida race with ex-Honda F1 pilot Takuma Sato at the controls.
Lotus and Cosworth have entered into a new technical and commercial partnership with established IndyCar competitors KV Racing Technology to run in the 2010 IndyCar Series.
The Lotus-Cosworth IndyCar will use the classic Racing Green and Yellow livery used on Lotus Racing cars in the 1950s and 1960s and this new livery will debut at the first USA round of the IndyCar Series.
Driving the Lotus-Cosworth IndyCar will be the former F1 driver Takuma Sato.
Lotus competed for a number of years in the IndyCar Series in the 1960s, winning the Indianapolis 500 race outright in 1965 with the pioneering Lotus Type 38, driven by Jim Clark, and narrowly missing victory to come second in 1963.
Dany Bahar, CEO of Group Lotus plc said, "Racing has always defined Lotus and on many occasions in motorsports history Lotus' numerous innovations have re-defined racing. It's only fitting that as the Lotus Racing name re-enters Formula 1, we will also race and innovate again in IndyCar. The Lotus name will, once again compete in the top two open-wheel racing series for the passion and enthusiasm of car fans around the globe."
Kevin Kalkhoven and Jimmy Vasser, owners of KV Racing Technology said, "We are delighted to be part of Lotus and Cosworth's return to the IndyCar Series, and with Takuma at the wheel of the classic racing green and yellow Lotus Cosworth race car, we expect to be formidable competitors this year."
Takuma Sato said, "This is fantastic news for everyone. It is exiting for me to be a Lotus driver and I'm really looking forward to great success with this new project."
The return to the IndyCar Series follows on from the recent announcement by Lotus and Cosworth are to become closely associated through a strategic partnership looking at the opportunity to develop high performance engines for Lotus cars.
The 2010 IndyCar Series starts with the Sao Paolo Indy 300, Brazil on the 14th of March 2010.
The main operating subsidiary of Group Lotus plc is Lotus Cars Ltd, which has two operating divisions - Lotus Engineering and Lotus Cars. Lotus Engineering is an internationally recognized automotive engineering consultancy based in Norfolk, UK. Global facilities include those in Michigan (USA), Kuala Lumpur (Malaysia), China and offices in Germany and Japan, with rapid expansion in new territories such as South East Asia.
Lotus Engineering provides comprehensive and versatile consultancy services to many of the world's OEMs and Tier 1 suppliers, offering a full engineering service from initial concept and project design through development and integration of the complete vehicle to meet all worldwide markets and customers to full production. This includes third party 'niche vehicle' engineering and manufacture worldwide.
Lotus Cars builds world class, prestige, high performance sports cars for sale in 37 countries. These include the iconic Lotus Elise, the Exige, the 2-Eleven and Lotus' latest model, the Lotus Evora. Lotus is a global high-tech company, expanding rapidly and committed to driving forward technology for both Lotus Cars and its Engineering clients, spearheading research into such areas as hybrids, electric vehicles and renewable fuels.
The Cosworth Group provides high performance technologies to a diverse range of global industries including automotive, defence, clean energy generation and sports.
The Cosworth Group is headquartered in Northampton, UK and operates additional facilities in the UK, North America and India to leverage its unique combination of advanced technologies, mechanical and electronic engineering expertise and globally recognized brand to deliver performance solutions.
Cosworth has been at the forefront of international motorsport for over 50 years and is a brand synonymous with success. Cosworth high performance race technologies have delivered championships in every major series across the globe including Formula 1, IndyCar, NASCAR, World Rallying, World Touring Cars and MotoGP.
About KV Racing Technologies
KV Racing Technology was established in 2003. The Indianapolis-based team will contest its eighth open-wheel season and third in the IndyCar Series in 2010. KVRT is owned by successful venture capitalist Kevin Kalkhoven and 1996 Indy Car Series Champion, Jimmy Vasser. Veteran motorsports manager Mark Johnson is the team's General Manager. KVRT has earned two victories, the first by Cristiano da Matta in Portland in 2005 and the second by Will Power in Long Beach in 2008. They have captured two poles, Tristan Gommendy at Mont Tremblant in 2007 and Vasser at Milwaukee in 2005 (Will Power captured the pole at the 2008 Surfers Paradise, Australia exhibition race).
About Takuma Sato
Sato, commonly known as "Taku", a 33-year-old native of Tokyo, Japan, is a veteran of seven Formula 1 seasons and will be contesting his first IndyCar season. In 1996, he started karting and in 1997 won the Kanto region championship. In 1999, his first full year of car racing, Taku competed in Formula Opel Europe and British Formula 3 National Class B for Diamond Racing. He finished sixth in Formula Opel Europe scoring one victory. Taku joined Carlin Motorsport for the 2000 season to compete in British Formula 3 (Class A). He contested 12 races earning four wins, six poles, six podiums and placing third in championship. His 16 wins in the British Formula 3 Championship over two seasons is still a record. Having proven his talent in Formula 3 and impressed with his testing for BAR, Taku was signed by Jordan-Honda in October 2001 to contest the 2002 Formula 1 season. Taku had his best F1 season in 2004 driving full time for BAR-Honda where he placed eighth in the championship with 34 points. In 2006, Taku joined the new Super Aguri-Honda team established by Japanese racing legend Aguri Suzuki - the only Japanese driver prior to Sato to finish on the podium in a F1 race. Taku competed again for Super Aguri-Honda in 2007 earning two top-10 finishes.