IndyCar – Lotus Jumps on for 2012

The first manufacturer has jumped into the 2012 body kit fray. Lotus which had indicated that they would think about creating a kit for the series has confirmed that they will develop a kit for purchase when the new rules come into affect. Lotus brass cited this as a continued evolution of the brands involvement in the sport. The team has given a large amount of financial backing to KV Racing Technologies and even put their name and logo on the car piloted by Takumo Sato.

This now means that a Lotus IndyCar will once again compete in the Indianapolis 500. The team won the Greatest Spectacle in Racing in 1965. The team already develops aero for their Formula 1 that has performed relatively well considering their new team status. That now gives us Dallara and Lotus with the ICONIC committee still pushing other manufacturers hard for their participation. One thing that will be interesting will be the engine specs once released. Could Lotus take a step further and provide engines too? Maybe a bit early to discuss that aspect, but what do think of Lotus jumping in? Could we see more manufacturers jump on because of it?

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12 Thoughts to “IndyCar – Lotus Jumps on for 2012

  1. Portobello's Finest

    Good. variety is what the series desperately needs to recapture the hearts and minds of people, and hopefully this will encourage other entities to hop on board.

  2. awesome!

    BAT and Delta Wing wont enter the fray because frankly, they only exist on paper.

    Swift and Lola probably wont enter the fray due to sour grapes

    But seriously, would you rather be driving a Swift IndyCar or a Lotus IndyCar. This is what the league was hoping for. Now if we could just get one or two more serious body kit builders.

    The engines are a different story, but there is an open playground for all.

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  4. In my attempt to hurry and put this out over lunch, Lotus does not produce engines in F1 and counts on Cosworth. So an engine from Lotus may not be in the works. However, Cosworth on the other hand….hmmmm. We will see but I made the mistake of the Lotus engine question. It would be a Lotus branded Proton if anyhting and that is just not likely as Proton has no real marketing need here in the states.

  5. Portobello's Finest


    Lotus has always been dependent upon others to manufacture engines AFAIK. The idea of a Lotus engine is nonexistent at best.

  6. Alan Turner

    This is good news. Probably at least one more because I believe either Penske or Ganassi if not both of them will step up to the plate. I think that we will need to hit 4 or 5 in order for the concept to work the way the ICONIC panel envisioned. Simply because a few of them will eventually fall by the way side. Just a feeling but I’m thinking that at the end if there are still three different cars it could achieve a reasonable compromise between the economic reality of today and the ideal of having a situation closer to what we had in the early to mid ’90’s.

    When I get more time I’d like to write about where I think this all this may eventually lead to if we can remain positive and open and of course if more fan and corporate interest. IF we can generate more interest and IF the economy improves then I think the future of AOWL COULD be really exciting again.

  7. Alan, I think that is the nices tthing you have ever said on here! lol 🙂 You are right though. There is a real chance to create some buzz here. I think there is a real chance for Ford or Mazda to come in once the engine regs are set. Add Lotus, Dallara, Ganassi, and Penske and we have a very diverse and interesting grid.

    Portobello, Thanks for the correction…I was being foolish over my left over pizza and did not even realize what I had typed! Thanks for the clarification. Welcome to our humble little spot on the internet.

  8. Jim

    Can they get Cosworth to jump in the fray with an engine!!!

  9. Savage Henry

    How could Cosworth not jump into the fray? They probably have an engine close to the 2012 spec already. With Kevin Kalkhoven an owner of Cosworth and a team owner in the Indycar series, it just seems like it should be a slam dunk, never mind the long history that Cosworth has at Indy.

    Admittedly, Gerald Forsythe is still in the picture and beyond bitter about the end-result of “The Split” there could be resistance on his part. How long can he stay mad, especially when there’s a potentially good business opportunity out there?

    Now that Cosworth is back in F1 adding themselves into the Indycar fray should be seen by them as a return to the glory days.

  10. It will all depend upon the price cap on the engine leases. Cosworth won’t come in unless they can turn a nickel at it. If they can convince a company like Ford to badge their engine so that Cosworth is getting marketing money in addition to the lease price of the engine, then I can see it as being a realistic option. Otherwise, I have to wonder what’s in it for Cosworth? In fact, from the way the league has been talking over the past year, and especially within the past couple of months, I doubt that a privateer manufacturer would be allowed to submit an engine without it being badged by an OEM.

    The real stopper, engine-wise, is that the engine will likely be a stressed member of the chassis which escalates the costs, and rules out a lot of current racing engines already in production that could be brought to the league. Its unfortunate since there are a number of engines in ALMS and the WRC that would be great to see in an IndyCar, and it would be much more cost effective for manufacturers to use an existing engine platform rather than developing a specific motor just for Indianapolis.

  11. Alan Turner

    Ok, I’ve got a little bit of time on my hands. So, this is where I think things have the possibility to lead to that are only being initiated with the announcement of the concept for the 2012 rules/strategy.

    First I would like to state that as always and with everything racing and business the health of the entire economy and the need for fiscal success will dictate all events and decisions. Please keep this in mind when reading my thoughts that I will share with you.

    First, I think that we might not see more than one (Dallara) or two (Lotus??) “kits” the first year. After that the potential for others to join in on the fun could increase. I expect that we will see one if not both Penske and Ganassi participating. Further more I would also expect to see an engine supplier get involved as well. Honda has the capability to do so completely in house. Will they? Who knows. Obviously the idea that you could “win Indy” with a Honda engine and “car” is a potentially lucrative advertising boon. If other manufacturers get involved they have the same incentive. Ford didn’t build just engines in F1. Nor has Mercedes and Renault. And of course Ferrari. But, many of us have been reluctant to think that some one other than Dallara would want to drape some of their parts on a Dallara “safety cell” or what is probably more rightly called a Dallara CHASSIS and then try to claim it as their own. Swift and Lola are the two prime examples of this. But history tells us that that is not necessarily the case.

    Virtually every racing series has plenty of examples of somebody taking a large portion of somebody else’ car and making modifications to it and calling it their own. This happened often during Indy history including the pre-roadster days, the roadsters and really all the way up to the transition of the Truesports into the RH01. Ah, but that was then, this is now you say. Really? How about despite the incredibly strict rules that govern what is and what is not an original design the fact that Torro Rosso did indeed take the Red Bull chassis and with only changes to the suspension and “body kit” make the one year old RB into a TR? Was not a Ford XB really a Cosworth? Or a Chevy an Ilmor? Or Mercedes an Ilmor? How about a Foyt? Didn’t it start life as a Ford?

    In any event I think that if there is an interest and a way to do so that makes economic sense somebody will do it. Are Delta or BAT likely to participate with out large corporate backing? Probably not. But, these groups want to be involved. They want to find a way to showcase their talents and if they can do so with out loosing their shirts they will. Their is too much pride and passion to preclude them from doing so.

    I think we can all agree that if a case can be made for the financial viability of any parties involvement there is going to be somebody and most likely more than one somebody who shows up to try their hand.

    Now, having said all of that I think I understand where the ICONIC group may be heading with all of this. The first step was to reduce costs so as to increase major player interest and involvement and as a result FAN interest. In the same vein as creating major player interest helping the viability of the participants as well.

    Let’s assume for now that my hunch is correct and we get by say 2013 or 2014 3 or 4 “body kit” builders and 2 or three engine suppliers. That’s probably a better situation than we currently have. Let’s also assume by then the economy is in better shape. Now some money may be starting to flow back into the series. If that is the case, then there are some options for the powers that be to do somethings.

    If things are better in a few years I think that there are some more opportunities with the way things are laid out to expand upon. Things like suspensions, brakes and maybe even under trays or even gearboxes that are now locked into Dallara could be turned loose for development by either the teams, chassis builders or manufacturers to dabble in. IF things got real good it’s possible in theory that maybe only the “tub” or safety cell are mandated as supplied from Dallara and all comers could attach their own designs for everything else. At that point it’s logical that Swift and Lola could make an argument that what they might bring to the track is sufficiently theirs and not just a couple of wings and an engine cover away from being their major competitor’s.

    I believe it’s possible that depending upon the economic environment that the rules could expand and contract to meet the needs of the participants.

    What if the economy doesn’t get better. Or interest in AOWL continues to be sluggish. First off, let’s hope that doesn’t happen but we may need to be prepared for that. There has been some talk about being dissapointed that the engine is a stressed member and as such has precluded some relatively low cost yet interesting opportunities to employ a GRE or some of the current stock based engines used in ALMS and WRC. First of all, I would encourage RB to inquire with the manufactures of these engines if they are interested. If they are and/or if the economic situation dictates it’s possible that these engines could still be adapted for use. I don’t believe for one second that these engines and the Dallara “safety cell” couldn’t be adapted to work together. It may not be ideal but then we may end up with a situation like we had in the ’80’s and ’90’s. We could have the modern version of stock block chevy’s normally aspirated or turbo with Turbo Buicks along side the modern version of the Cosworth and later the Ford, Chevy and Mercedes purpose built stressed member engines. This may require that there be some sort of equalizing via the rules. In fact it worked so well that it gave all of us something to whine and complain and argue about. Did the turbo Buicks have too much advantage at Indy? Where they too constrained under CART’s rules? Hey, could be great fun.

    In any event I think there is a well thought out plan inside the ICONIC panel’s efforts and announcement. I believe there is great potential as well as things that are necessary to either realize that potential or to put Indy Car in a position to weather further storms. That’s my 2 cents.

  12. Thoughtful and well-reasoned as always, Alan. I want to take some time to respond to a couple of points, but Mid-Ohio is tomorrow ….er….scratch that, LATER this morning, and my time for the next three days will be devoted getting photos and video. I’ll have some more thoughts on this come Monday next week when I’m back home.

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