Yesterday evening the IZOD IndyCar Series received further boost when it was confirmed that Group Lotus are to enter as an engine manufacturer from 2012.
They will join long-time partner Honda and series returnees, Chevrolet as the IndyCar’s power suppliers.
The Malaysian owned company has also revealed that they are to be an aero-kit designer for the 2012 season as well, running head-to-head with Dallara and Chevrolet; however it is thought that more aero-kit teams may join at a later date.
That Lotus are presenting themselves as an engine manufacturer is something of an unexpected move, as it was originally thought that they would be using Cosworth built power units.
The company has yet to release their proposed engine specifications; however it is a given that it will be a turbocharged V6 engine run on bio-fuel.
Lotus aligned themselves to KV Racing this season, covering Takuma Sato’s machine in their famous green and yellow colours; however the three-car squad suffered a torrid season. Sato, along with team-mate’s EJ Viso, Mario Moraes and part-time KV racer Paul Tracy notched up approximately forty accidents this season, including several incidents where they managed to take each other out. It is thought that KV will hold onto Sato and one of either Viso or Moraes, but regardless of who is driver, owners Jimmy Vasser and Kevin Kalkhoven are hoping for a better 2011 season.
The company has also announced racing programmes for Le Mans GT2 and GT4 as well as a tie-up with GP2’s ART Grand Prix team to run alongside its IndyCar programme. Although Team Lotus has a rich history at Indianapolis as a chassis supplier, this will be the first time that Group Lotus will enter its own engines.
Lotus ran at Indianapolis on multiple occasions during the 1960’s with victories from Jim Clarke and Graham Hill, as well as several notable entries from Jochen Rindt, Dan Gurney and Parnelli Jones.
Whether Group Lotus can live up to the history carved out by its other half remains to be seen. However, it can be agreed that this yet another step forward for the IndyCar Series, as the American single-seater Championship aims to build its shattered legacy.