Thursday, January 12, 2012

Lotus Indy Taps A Penske To Make 2012 A 4 Team Challenge

Sebastien Bourdais going through turn 9 at the end of the back straight driving the Boy Scouts of America sponsored Dale Coyne Racing Dallara during the 2011 Toyota Grand Prix of Long Beach. "Sea Bass" will join Katherine Legge to create a two car IZOD IndyCar team for Lotus Dragon Racing in 2012. Image Credit: Edmund Jenks (2011)

Lotus Indy Taps A Penske To Make 2012 A 4 Team Challenge

No ... it is not the first Penske that comes to mind but Dragon Racing IndyCar team owned by Jay Penske – Chairman and CEO of the Penske Media Corporation, and son of US racing legend Roger Penske joins the Lotus-powered IZOD IndyCar Series challenge for 2012. "Lotus Dragon Racing" (LDR) will be an official Lotus team, racing in the black and gold colors that are shared by the marque’s Formula One program.

Dragon Racing debuted in 2007 and promptly picked up a fifth-place at the Indy 500, straight out of the box, with Ryan Briscoe at the wheel. In 2009, its first full season, Dragon driver and ChampCar alum, Raphael Matos took the Rookie of the Year honors.

In 2012, the Lotus Dragon Racing line up is a particularly strong one featuring a couple of ChampCar World Series (CCWS) alums with winning traditions: Brit, Katherine Legge, the first female driver to win a major open-wheel race in North America, and four-time CCWS champion and former F1 racer Sebastien Bourdais (SeaBass).

Lotus Dragon Racing joins Bryan Herta Autosport, Dreyer & Reibold Racing, and HVM Racing to make it a four team Lotus-powered front in an effort to capture the first IZOD IndyCar Series championship of the fully unified modern era of American open wheel racing.

Group Lotus Director of Motorsport - Claudio Berro: "We are very pleased to be able to announce this new and exciting partnership with Dragon Racing today, a team which has demonstrated its potential and which we believe will achieve great success thanks to the Lotus IndyCar engine and the security of a major backer. Last year was Lotus' first foray into this prestigious open-wheel series since Jim Clark won the Indy 500 back in 1965. We have a tremendous legacy in this sport, and are determined to become winners again. The American market is one of the most important to Lotus in terms of road car sales, hence our aggressive marketing strategies through US auto racing. We believe Lotus Dragon Racing and our other partner teams will give us the best opportunity to achieve our ambitious goals."

Image Credit: Group Lotus

This excerpted and edited from Group Lotus -

Press Release from Group Lotus

In 2012 no less than four teams with an anticipated minimum eight cars will be packing Lotus power in the IZOD IndyCar Series. The company’s all-new twin-turbo V6 has its first shakedown today at the Moroso circuit in Jupiter, Florida , with Lotus HVM driver Simona de Silvestro working the loud pedal. The engine program, which was announced in November 2010, has come together quickly without teething problems, and fire-ups away from the track have ticked all the boxes. Lotus Dragon Racing, Lotus HVM Racing, Lotus Bryan Herta Autosport, and Lotus Dreyer & Reinbold Racing are all confirmed as engine partners.

Claudio Berro, Group Lotus Director of Motorsport: “The engine has performed extremely well so far, and we and our partners are very pleased with the results. We had our first fire-up in a Dallara chassis in Palma, Italy on 21-23 December, then the engine was sent to America, and today we’re having our first on-track shakedown, at Moroso, which is very exciting. On January 1st we opened a Lotus facility in Indianapolis which will be our US engineering and logistics hub, so it’s all go. We’ve still got a lot of work to do before the start of the season, but I couldn’t be happier with the progress we’re making.”
[Reference Here]

2012 will prove to be a truly breakout year ... being the first year in a dynamic formula (multiple engine manufacturers and a potential of variance in aero-parts to be employed on a new Dallara DW12 chassis), and a fresh look at competition rules with the appointment of a new race director (also a CCWS alum) in Beaux Barfield.

... notes from The EDJE

Article first seen as Lotus Indy Taps A Penske To Make 2012 A 4 Team Challenge at Technorati

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