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Lotus gets go-ahead for engine upgrades

The IndyCar Series has approved Lotus' request to make improvements to their engine, to make up for the unit's power deficiency compared with rivals Honda and Chevrolet.
The IZOD IndyCar Series announced on Thursday that it had given the go-ahead to Lotus to introduce a series of upgrades to its engine design in order to allow it to catch up with rival manufacturers Honda and Chevrolet.

"Now that the IndyCar Series has giving us permission to improve the engine performance, things will be moving soon," said Olivier Picquenot, Lotus' IndyCar program manager. "The purpose is to get some outside help to assist in the new development plan for the Lotus engine. Everyone has been working well together and looking to make some quick progress in a concrete way."

The approval came under an existing provision in the series rulebook which allows the engine suppliers to petition for the chance to change their engine specification even though the units are meant to be frozen through to the end of the 2016 season.

Rule 4.7 states: "At June 18 and again at the end of the year manufacturers whose engines are statistically more than 2.5 per cent deficient in power may, at the sole discretion and evaluation of IndyCar, make improvements to be homologated immediately."

Lotus duly lodged the paperwork on the stated date, supplying data from testing, practice and race sessions proving that the engine was more than 2.5 per cent down on power. There was little problem demonstrating this, with Lotus' cars painfully down on speed on the ovals and even getting parked ten laps into the Indianapolis 500 for being unable to run within 105 per cent of the leaders' times.

Two IndyCar teams - Bryan Herta Autosport and Dreyer & Reinbold Racing - started the year with Lotus engines but negotiated their way out of their contracts when the power shortfall became apparent. A third team, Dragon Racing, split in more acrimonious circumstances in the weeks building up to the Indy 500 in May, after filing a lawsuit against Lotus.

The June 18 homologation waiver application laid out the requested series of changes to be phased in, which will start with a test on July 2 at Mid-Ohio Sports Car Course with the HVM Racing car of Simona de Silvestro, the only driver now using Lotus power full time in the series. The rules are clear that the proposed solution cannot simply be through allowing more turbocharge boost or turning up the RPM, but has to come from design-led improvements to the engine itself.

“The intention of the rules is that you can't just go and request more boost or revs," agreed John Judd Jr. of the family-run UK-based Engine Developments Limited company that is contracted to design and build the Lotus engines. "You give them a shopping list of items you'd like to change, but wouldn't be allowed to under the existing homologation regulations."

Judd pointed out that changes to the camshaft profile were just one thing not allowed under the formal rules that they wanted to be able to introduce under this mid-year dispensation.




Related Pictures

Click on relevant pic to enlarge
The Lotus brand and colours on an IndyCar. [Picture credit: IndyCar Media]
Simona de Silvestro in the #78 Nuclear Clean Air Energy Lotus HVM Racing car  during pre-season testing at Sebring. March 2012. [Photo Credit: Michael Levitt - LAT for IndyCar Media]
The Lotus insignia. [Picture credit: IndyCar Media]
Juan Pablo Montoya, driver of the #2 Hawk Performance Team Penske Chevrolet IndyCar V6, races to an 11th-place finish Sunday, August 2, 2015, during the Verizon IndyCar Series race at the Mid-Ohio Sports Car Course in Lexington, Ohio. Montoya retains the overall driver`s championship points lead with two races left in the season. (Photo by Michael L. Levitt/LAT for Chevy Racing)
Scott Dixon, driver of the #9 Target Chip Ganassi Racing Chevrolet IndyCar V6, races to an fourth-place finish Sunday, August 2, 2015, during the Verizon IndyCar Series race at the Mid-Ohio Sports Car Course in Lexington, Ohio. (Photo by Michael L. Levitt/LAT for Chevy Racing)
Simon Pagenaud, driver of the #22 PPG Finishes Team Penske Chevrolet IndyCar V6, races to a third-place finish Sunday, August 2, 2015, during the Verizon IndyCar Series race at the Mid-Ohio Sports Car Course in Lexington, Ohio. (Photo by Phillip Abbott/LAT for Chevy Racing)
Simon Pagenaud, driver of the #22 PPG Finishes Team Penske Chevrolet IndyCar V6, celebrates his third-place finish Sunday, August 2, 2015, during the Verizon IndyCar Series race at the Mid-Ohio Sports Car Course in Lexington, Ohio. (Photo by Phillip Abbott/LAT for Chevy Racing)
Graham Rahal leads a group through the Turn 2 Keyhole turn during the Honda Indy 200 at Mid-Ohio (Photo by: Chris Jones for IndyCar Media)
Graham Rahal and his father, Bobby, celebrate in Victory Circle following their win in the Honda Indy 200 at Mid-Ohio (Photo by: John Cote for IndyCar Media)
Podium celebrations for Graham Rahal and Justin Wilson after the Honda Indy 200 at Mid-Ohio. (Photo by: Chris Jones for IndyCar Media)
Podium celebrations for Graham Rahal, Justin Wilson and Simon Pagenaud after the Honda Indy 200 at Mid-Ohio. (Photo by: Chris Jones for IndyCar Media)
Graham Rahal sprays the champagne in Victory Lane following his victory in the Honda Indy 200 at Mid-Ohio (Photo by: Chris Owens for IndyCar Media)
Graham Rahal wins the Honda Indy 200 at Mid-Ohio (Photo by: Bret Kelley for IndyCar Media)
Graham Rahal begins the celebration as he wins the Honda Indy 200 at Mid-Ohio (Photo by: John Cote for IndyCar Media)
Ryan Hunter-Reay waits in his pit stand prior to practice for the Honda Indy 200 at Mid-Ohio (Photo by: John Cote for IndyCar Media)
Ryan Hunter-Reay rolls down pit lane for practice for the Honda Indy 200 at Mid-Ohio (Photo by: Chris Jones for IndyCar Media)
Scott Dixon, driver of the #9 Target Chip Ganassi Racing Chevrolet IndyCar V6, celebrates having the fastest qualifying time Saturday, August 1, 2015, winning the pole for Sunday`s Verizon IndyCar Series race at the Mid-Ohio Sports Car Course in Lexington, Ohio. Dixon set a track record of 1:04.5814/125.869 mph. (Photo by Phillip Abbott/LAT for Chevy Racing)
Scott Dixon, driver of the #9 Target Chip Ganassi Racing Chevrolet IndyCar V6, celebrates having the fastest qualifying time Saturday, August 1, 2015, winning the pole for Sunday`s Verizon IndyCar Series race at the Mid-Ohio Sports Car Course in Lexington, Ohio. Dixon set a track record of 1:04.5814/125.869 mph. (Photo by Phillip Abbott/LAT for Chevy Racing)

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Ricky - Unregistered

June 29, 2012 1:22 PM

I hope this allows Lotus to get competitive. I'd love to see a three way fight for the balance of the season, and Lotus add more teams next year.

John - Unregistered

July 01, 2012 1:18 AM

Ozfan try reading things twice and have your dig at the original poster. Your digs at other posters are strange at best and smack of obnoxiousness. I hope Nissan and by Nissan I mean Nissan come back and kick ass. As for Indy I think I will stick to formula one



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