It was short and to the point. Tonight at the Los Angeles Autoshow the IZOD IndyCar series and the Lotus group made it official. In 2012 there will be three engine makes in the IZOD IndyCar series.
The brand which has never made their own engine for a race car will now be a manufacturer in IndyCar. Lotus Group CEO, Danny Bahar did not give any technical specifications on the 2012 IZOD IndyCar series engine. In a Press Release from earlier in the day IZOD IndyCar series and Lotus says technical specifications will be announced at a later date.
Bahar and the earlier PR statement only said Lotus will build engines and aero kits in 2012. “We just don’t want to put our sticker on a car.” stated CEO Bahar. He cites the companies heritage in motorsports and they want to “repay” their past. “Our past is racing.”
Bahar also said that the reason Lotus backed Takuma Sato with KV Racing this season was to see if they could become a real contender in the IZOD IndyCar series. He announced that Lotus will not only stay with the 5 car they currently sponsor, but also have three or more Lotus liveries with KV.
“By building our own engine we’re going to be an underdog” stated Bahar. He went on to say they know that Chevrolet and Honda have more experience making engines in racing, but they like competition and are up for the task.
Legendary F1 driver Jim Clark won the 1965 Indianapolis 500 in a Ford powered Lotus 38. Clark gave Ford its first win at the 500. Ford spent plenty of money and resources to get that win, including hiring the legendary Wood Brothers of NASCAR to pit the car. (the Wood Brothers were considered the fastest pit crew in all of racing at the time)
The Lotus 38 that won in 1965 was the very first mid-engine car to win the legendary American event. (mid-engine cars have the engine behind the driver. Placing its weight more in the center of the car to give balance. Before 1965 all cars that won the Indy 500 had the engine in front like conventional street cars. No front engined “Roadsters” would ever win the event again.)
Also at the press conference was American motorsports legend Parnelli Jones. Jones would finish second to Clark in 1965 also in a Ford powered Lotus. Many IZOD IndyCar series fans gawked at Jones gaffe calling the series the “IRL” a name they official ended during the 2009 season.