IndyCar is about to get a heck of a lot more interesting to both diehard open-wheel fans and casual observers alike. While the current series relies on a single chassis platform (Dallara) and engine supplier (Honda), starting in 2012 a number of engine options and aero packages will be allowed, though the same basic chassis will still be used by all teams (again from Dallara).
Just a short while after Chevrolet announced that it was going to offer a turbocharged 2.4-liter V6 engine for the 2012 season, Lotus chose to officially throw its storied British name into the racing ring with an announcement from the 2010 LA Auto Show. In addition, Lotus will offer its own customized aerodynamics package that should help set Lotus-powered teams apart from the competition.
Lotus and Chevrolet will join Honda, which announced that it will also offer an engine package for 2012 IndyCar teams, and all three teams will be relying on turbocharged V6s displacing 2.4 liters, all running on E85 as per the rule book. Check out the official announcement after the jump.
Lotus supplies engines and aero body kits for the 2012 IZOD IndyCar Series
In a five year deal starting in 2012, Lotus, the UK based iconic sports and racecar manufacturer, will supply in-house engines and aero body kits for the IZOD IndyCar Series.
Lotus will also create a motorsport facility in Indianapolis giving the company a base in the thick of the action for this exciting and adrenalin filled race series as well as being close to IndyCar engine and aero body kit customers.
Dany Bahar, CEO of Group Lotus said: "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. 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 aero 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."
Claudio Berro, Director of Lotus Motorsport said: "The history and DNA of Lotus is all about extracting the most performance out of a car in return for maximum efficiency and we are delighted to offer our engine and aero body kit to the 2012 IndyCar series.
"We will be using the knowledge gained from our extensive research into E85 bio fuel and turbo charged engines to ensure we extract the maximum performance. 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!"
Randy Bernard, CEO of Indycar said: "Lotus is a renowned name in racing, with a long association with some of the greatest names of motorsports. We're honored Lotus has chosen to serve as an engine manufacturer for the first time."
The Lotus IndyCar engine will follow the agreed rules, namely 2.4 litre, up to 6 cylinders and turbo charged and 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. Lotus will join Honda (Japan) and Chevrolet (USA) as an engine supplier.