IndyCar’s 2012 competition rules should draw viewers back to the series. For the first time since the early years of this decade, American open wheel fans can watch cars powered by different engines and wearing unique aerodynamic packages compete against other, “different” cars. Lotus was among the first to announce an aero package (still under development) for the 2012 Dallara chassis. We knew all along that Honda would continue to build motors, and Chevy announced their return to the series last week. AutoWeek reports that Lotus has jumped into the engine competition as well, and will supply a V6 motor for the 2012 season.
Which is odd, because Lotus is known for their handling and not for their engines. Current Lotus road cars use engines supplied by Toyota, although the track-only Lotus Exos uses a Cosworth sourced V8. It gets even more confusing when you learn that Lotus in the racing world is really two companies: the Lotus of old, called Classic Team Lotus, specializes in preparing and racing vintage cars under the guidance of Colin Chapman’s son, Clive. The Lotus that had cars in the 2010 F1 series (and will build engines and aero packages for IndyCar) is Lotus Racing. Lotus Racing is owned by a Malaysian consortium who also owns Proton (who owns Lotus Cars). In other words, a third party supplier will build an engine under license for the Malaysian owners of a classic British sports car manufacturer, not to be confused with the original company of the same name. Got all that?
Building engines for racing series is rarely done by the manufacturers. Honda’s IndyCar engines are built by Honda Performance Development, Chevy’s will be built by Ilmor and the Lotus engines will likely be built by Cosworth. Which teams will run which engines hasn’t been finalized just yet, but at a minimum you can expect KV Racing to run Lotus power and Team Penske to run Chevy motors.