IndyCar – The Lola Project

Today, both Lola and Swift announced their design concepts for the 2012 IZOD IndyCar chassis. First, lets examine the Lola statements. We’ll look at the Swift statements and concepts in the next article. Lola released no design concept rednerings with their announcement today, but stated that they might be publicly available as soon as the end of the week. Lola is certainly no stranger to IndyCar racing, having been a regular manufacturer during the CART era, and they have had lots of on-track success to back them up. However, their recent concept statements have been less than enlightening.

Lola reveal 2012 Indycar proposals

Lola USA today reveals;

After months of consultation, design evaluation and business planning, Lola has presented to the IRL Board an innovative and commercially viable proposal for the next generation of Indy Car.

At the heart of Lola’s presentation to the IRL Board was a carefully considered modern dual body style approach. This concept will provide two ready to race aero performance balanced Indycars that could compete even safer side by side and very close behind one another on all circuits. This would provide a unique focus for drivers, teams and fans alike without technical compromise or advantage and in addition would accommodate a dual engine supply situation if required.

The proposed Lola Indycar for 2012 focuses on several key areas. These are safety, efficiency, engine adaptability, weight reduction (proposed 1380lbs v current 1540lbs), pleasing aesthetics with good sponsor exposure and a concentrated evaluation on significantly improving overtaking.

As part of the rigorous technical studies by Lola engineers, an entire range of futuristic concept cars were explored. While these proved technically interesting and on the wish list of the special projects team, some of these options will be deferred, but retained, as a next iteration option. Lola supported University projects that are now using recycled materials continues to be of great interest.

Lola Executive Chairman, Martin Birrane
“Lola’s history in US racing stretches back to 1965 and includes three Indy 500 wins, Can Am, Sports Car and Champ Car title successes. It is upon this framework of heritage combined today with Lola’s state of the art technical capabilities that ensures the company continues to be perfectly positioned to enter a new era and add another chapter to this already fascinating and inspiring partnership.”

Lola Cars Managing Director, Robin Brundle
“We have worked closely and methodically to understand the needs of the IRL Board, the fans and the teams while remaining aligned and sensitive to the challenging commercial needs of all stakeholders. For Lola it is also very important that the fans enjoy the cars and receive a great spectacle both trackside and on TV.”

Lola does bring an interesting approach, promising two separate, but equally matched aero styles that would offer teams technical choices and fans some variation in appearance. Will it be enough for Lola to come back to Indy? Its certainly a good start, but with no renderings there’s not much that we can say about their proposed design regarding the modern look and sponsorship visibility that the league has stated as one of their chief objectives for the 2012 chassis. So my grade for the Lola Project? Right now, I’d have to give them an incomplete.

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