Lotus may be renowned for building some exemplary road cars, but thanks in no small part to founder Colin Chapman, its heritage has long been tied to motorsports. Thankfully, the current management seems to appreciate that fact. Following the company’s return to Formula 1 for the first time in 16 years, Lotus announced it -- along with partner Cosworth Engineering -- will return to the IndyCar Series for the first time in 39 years.
“Racing has always defined Lotus,” said Group Lotus CEO Danny Bahar, “and on many occasions in motorsports history Lotus’ numerous innovations have redefined 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.”
Lotus had a number of successes in the IndyCar Series when it competed in the 1960s, narrowly missing a win at the Indianapolis 500 in 1963 and winning the famous race two years later with Jim Clark behind the wheel. The company also helped design a number of innovative cars for the series, including the four-wheel-drive, gas turbine-powered Type 56.
Lotus’ return to Indy will be managed by Indianapolis-based KV Racing Technology. Takuma Sato -- a former F1 driver who signed with KV for the 2010 IndyCar season -- will be the first man to drive the new car.
“This is fantastic news for everyone,” said Sato. “It is exciting for me to be a Lotus driver, and I’m really looking forward to great success with this new project.”
Given Lotus’ recent reunion with engine tuner Cosworth Engineering, we’re not too surprised to hear the duo will collaborate on the IndyCar project. Unlike F1, however, Cosworth won’t supply engines for the series (a Honda V-8 is mandated), but will serve as a technical consultant for the endeavor.