Friday, January 20, 2012
Official: Lotus ramps up Indy racing program with Bourdais and Legge
The only thing more ambitious than Lotus and its expansive new product plan is the company's racing program. In the span of just a few years, the British automaker has launched forays into Formula One, IndyCar, endurance sportscar racing and even karting, all with its own factory-backed works initiatives. And in true Lotus style, it's not showing any signs of slowing down any time soon.
In line with its ambitions, Lotus rolled into the Autosport International Show - the preeminent annual motorsport expo in England - with a whole mess of racing cars and programs to go with them. The firm's F1, GP2 and GP3 teams have all fallen under the new Lotus Racing banner and all will wear the same black and gold livery. A new Lotus Club GT offers the full racing experience to gentlemen racers with the money to pony up for a track-spec Evora, similar to the Type 125 customer single-seater that just underwent further development by the company's grand prix team. But the real news comes from the IndyCar program.
After five years of exclusively using Honda power, the IndyCar Series is switching to a new chassis next season and with it is bringing both Chevrolet and Lotus on board as alternative engine suppliers. Lotus is already contracted to power three independent teams - HVM Racing, Bryan Herta Autosport and Dreyer & Reinbold Racing - who will each choose their new livery from the Lotus back catalog of color schemes. Dragon Racing, however, has been selected by the factory as its new works team in the series, running the same black and gold livery as the F1 team.
The team is owned by Jay Penske (son of Roger Penske), and has just announced its driver lineup for the upcoming season, bringing multiple Champ Car champion and former grand prix driver Sebastien Bourdais on board together with Katherine Legge, another DTM and Champ Car driver eager to steal some of Danica Patrick's spotlight. With Lotus providing the motivation, the upcoming season of open-wheel racing in America is shaping up to be an interesting one. Follow the jump for the full announcement.Permalink | Email this | Comments