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L.A. Auto Show: Lotus to build its own engine for 2012 IndyCar season

November 18, 2010 |  3:51 pm


Lotus announced at the L.A. Auto Show that it is, for the first time, building an engine of its own for IndyCar racing.

The English builder of exotic sports cars has been in Indy racing a long time. But in the past, their efforts in IndyCars have been powered by the likes of Ford and, more recently, Honda.

In 2012, that changes, Lotus said Thursday afternoon.

Lotus played up its racing heritage in announcing that it will build its own engine to compete in the IZOD IndyCar Series against motors from Chevrolet and Honda.

The automaker brought out IndyCar legend Parnelli Jones for a few words and a photo-op alongside a 2010 model Lotus IndyCar (which has a Honda engine) painted in the company's signature green and yellow.

"I believe our heritage is all about motorsports," said Dany Bahar, Group Lotus' chief executive. "We believe our world cars should have a connection with motorsports.... We take racing seriously, and we don't want to just put a sticker on a car."

Lotus will also develop its own aerodynamic kit for IndyCars running its engine, Bahar said. Specifications for the IndyCar engine, which is in development, will be released at a later date.

The company has participated in many types of racing since its founding in 1952, having competed in Formula 1 racing, the annual 24-Hours of Le Mans endurance race in France and the World Rally Championship, despite never having built its own engine for an IndyCar.

Racing in a Lotus chassis with a Ford engine, Jim Clark won the 1965 Indianapolis 500. Jones, that year, got second place in another Lotus/Ford IndyCar.

"Lotus is a renowned name in racing, with a long association with some of the greatest names of motorsports," said Randy Bernard, IndyCar's chief executive. "We're honored Lotus has chosen to serve as an engine manufacturer."


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Photo: Photographers take pictures of racer car driver Parnelli Jones, IndyCar CEO Randy Bernard, Group Lotus CEO Dany Bahar and two others as they stand behind a Lotus IZOD IndyCar Series race car at the L.A. Auto Show on Thursday, Nov. 18, 2010. Credit: Allen J. Schaben / Los Angeles Times