Both Lotus and the IndyCar Series are set for changes within the next few years, with more luxurious products and new rules on the way respectively. The two groups’ changes are also set to intersect as an announcement from Lotus about becoming an engine and bodywork supplier in 2012 indicates.
“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,” said Group Lotus CEO Dany Bahar in a prepared statement. “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 becoming part of a legacy that is Lotus: one of the most innovative and successful sports and racing car brands in the world.”
Unlike Chevrolet, which also recently announced its intentions to become an IndyCar engine supplier in 2012, Lotus hasn’t announced any official engine specifications. The new 2012 engine regulations allow manufacturers to choose from a variety of turbocharged configurations limited only by a maximum of six cylinders and a displacement of 2.4-liters. Judging by the engine Lotus showed in L.A., it’s likely going to be a turbocharged V-6.
With the new rules in 2012 allowing independent bodywork and no less than three engine suppliers — Honda, Chevrolet, and now Lotus — the IndyCar Series is once again returning to a constructor series. We still believe the DeltaWing would have been a more interesting — and far more radical option — for the IndyCar Series, but at least this is a step in the right direction for U.S.-based open-wheel racing.