Group Lotus CEO Dany Bahar announced at the Los Angeles Auto Show on Thursday that Lotus would build engines for the IZOD IndyCar Series’ new 2012 formula. Few details were revealed at the announcement, including who will design and build the engine, although Bahar’s comments suggest Lotus would do the work on its own without a partner like Cosworth.
“What we’re trying to do with the Lotus brand is leverage our heritage, which is all about motor racing,” he said. “We’re taking racing seriously. We don’t just want to put a sticker on a car that we did not have an interest in building. We want to fight with the big guys.
“We started this year with a very small activity with Takuma Sato in the KV Technology team. It was just one car to understand Indycar racing. It was an opportunity for us to become a real contender. The series is developing well and I think it fits perfectly with our abilities and strategy in the US, which is our biggest market.
“So we took the decision to build our own engine. By doing that we are going to be the underdogs fighting Chevy and Honda. But that’s fine. It’s all about competition.”
Bahar confirmed that Lotus would develop its own ‘aero kit’ for 2012. “We will be designing our own chassis and own aero kit,” he said. “We want to compete by designing our own cars and hope other teams can profit from our design. We’ve started already investing in developing the right aero kit and engine for 2012.”
Bahar also said that as many as four Indycars will run in Lotus colours next year. “We’ll be expanding our activities in IndyCar with our partner KV Technology. There will probably be three or even more cars in our livery.”
Kevin Kalkhoven owns the KV team with former driver Jimmy Vasser. He also owns Cosworth in partnership with Jerry Forsythe. Kalkhoven was conspicuous by his absence from Thursday’s Lotus engine announcement and did not respond to requests to comment on the news. So we await further details with interest.