Group Lotus have announced that they are joining the IZOD IndyCar Series as an engine supplier from 2012, alongside the current engine provider, Honda, and Chevrolet who announced their return to the series last week
Lotus Group entered IndyCar this season by sponsoring the KV Racing Technology car driven by Takuma Sato, and in June announced that it would produce a bodywork offer supplementing the new Dallara-supplied safety cell.
Lotus have now made the decision to sign on and commit to the series long term as a manufacturer with an engine and aero kit designed in-house by the Norfolk-based group. Lotus did not reveal any details about the engine specifications at this time, or give any news about potential teams that may adopt the Lotus units.
Speaking at the Los Angeles Auto Show in Thursday, Lotus Group CEO Dany Behar said "We want to really fight and compete with the big guys.
"But we have a Lotus way to do things. We always try to understand what we are getting into. That's why we started this year with a very small activity with Takuma Sato with one car to understand IndyCar racing and to see whether there was an opportunity for us to become a real contender," Behar continued. "We made the brave decision, yes, this is where we want to be. We believe in the series. We believe the series is developing very, very well."
Lotus was originally founded by the iconic Colin Chapman in 1952 and has competed in IndyCar, Formula One and sports cars; Jim Clark famously won the 1965 Indianapolis 500 in a Ford-powered Lotus 38. The current Lotus team in F1 is a separate organisation that may be forced to change its name and livery if rumours that Group Lotus is to ink a deal with Renault F1 team shareholder Genii Capital come to fruition.
"What we tried to do with the Lotus brand is to pay our heritage and our past justice. I believe our heritage is all about motor racing. As you could see, this is all about motor racing," said Behar. "That's why we have also announced recently we will be going and racing in LeMans, GT2, GT4 car racing, obviously IndyCar."
The announcement means that from 2012, IndyCar will have an engine supplier line-up covering the United States (Chevrolet), Europe (Lotus) and Asia (Honda).
"We're honoured Lotus has chosen to serve as an engine manufacturer for the first time with us," said Randy Bernard, CEO of IndyCar. "The IZOD IndyCar Series has the fastest, most versatile cars and drivers in the world, and now we have engine competition to provide even more excitement for our fans."
Honda Performance Development president Erik Berkman also welcomed the announcement. "This is exciting news," he said. "Lotus Cars has a long and distinguished record in motorsports, and will add to the worldwide appeal of IZOD IndyCar Series racing."
The IZOD IndyCar Series announced in June that it was aiming to introduce a new generation of engines from 2012 that would not only be more powerful and efficient, but relevant to the motor industry producing new cars for the public. The 2012 framework allows a maximum of six cylinders and allows turbo-boosting to produce between 550 and 700 horsepower.