HVM's Simona de Silvestro has finished only three of nine races this season and was black-flagged after 10 laps in the Indianapolis 500 because her Lotus/Judd powered DW12 was too slow. Image Credit: Edmund Jenks (2012)
For Lotus, New Engine May Be Too Little Too Late At Honda Indy Toronto
It was announced earlier this week that Lotus/Judd will have a new and updated engine package for the single car team that remains in competition in the 2012 IZOD IndyCar Series (IICS). We are now going to be treated to the 10th race in a scheduled 16 race season in the streets of Toronto, Ontario, Canada for the Honda Indy Toronto but, sadly, the addition of a single Lotus-powered competitor, no matter how good the engine, is of little consequence now that the effort has eroded to a single driver on a single team.
This announcement, if it came about by the third race of the season, may have saved the effort for 2012, but with the exodus of Dragon Racing's Sebastien Bourdais & Katherine Legge, Dreyer & Reinbold Racing's Oriol Servia, and Bryan Herta Autosport's Alex Tagliani before the Indianapolis 500 headline event, who cares?
The fact of the matter, the Lotus effort came along late with little or no team testing under the assumption that this would be an easy branding add-on and that some how Lotus would be competitive out-of-the-box against the likes of major manufacturing efforts of Honda and Chevrolet ... not to mention established team resource support from the likes of Andretti, Penske, and Ganassi.
Let's be serious, British based HVM with their single female driver, Simona de Silvestro, no matter how talented and dedicated she is, will have very little impact on the competitive nature of this new Lotus/Judd package other than deliver an on-track test conducted during the event of an IICS season race.
Simona de Silvestro in Turn #10 at the 38th Toyota Grand Prix of Long Beach ... a track she had won a race driving in CCWS's 2008 Formula Atlantic Series. Image Credit: Edmund Jenks (2012)
This excerpted and edited from Cincinnati.com -
Simona de Silvestro finally gets new Lotus engine in Toronto
By Jenna Fryer - 11:44 PM, Jul. 3, 2012
Swiss driver Simona de Silvestro will have a new and hopefully improved Lotus engine this weekend at the Toronto Grand Prix.
De Silvestro said on Tuesday the new engine has been installed and she will get her first laps on track with it at Toronto. IndyCar last week approved upgrades for Lotus intended to help the struggling manufacturer, but de Silvestro thinks it could be a month before HVM Racing sees on-track improvement.
"Lotus is going to bring us an update, we think, before every race," she said. "We'll see how Toronto works out, but we think if we keep focusing on what we are doing, if we get to Baltimore (Sept. 2) and can run in the top 10, that would be really good for us. I think we are going to go to Toronto pretty open and excited to see what this new engine can do."
"It is a bit frustrating in the sense we've had some pretty strong race cars, especially at Detroit and Iowa, but it's so hard for us to pass," she said. "We can have a pretty good race pace, but when it comes time to pass, we don't have the speed and it's been so hard.
"And we've only finished three races, which is not a good record, and it's made it difficult to focus on the areas that really need improvement. We focused on two areas at the test, and we'll keep moving forward and hope our speed improves with the updates."
Lotus began the year with five teams. All but HVM defected to other manufacturers before the Indy 500 in May.
She said being the sole team with Lotus has been a mixed bag: It's been helpful to receive all the attention from the manufacturer, but de Silvestro believes her team has been at a disadvantage in not having another driver or team to talk to about strategies and development.
"The biggest problem that happened the last two years was my crash at Indy hurt me a little bit, because it took me some time to get my confidence back," she said. "But we still had the problem with the chassis, we just had struggles with that chassis that hurt us. This year we took a gamble to get with Lotus, and it's also been trying.
"But racing, it is not always rosy. I've learned a lot this year about engines, and we have a very strong engineering group with the team. Hopefully with the work we are doing this year, we get to the end of the season and we are better."
Without front line experienced drivers like those represented by four-time CCWS champion Sebastien Bourdais, or the high-posting consistancy delivered through Oriol Servia or Alex Tagliani, little progress is expected from Lotus/Judd with this engine update.
Event title: Honda Indy Toronto
Location: Streets of Toronto, Ontario, Canada
Track: 11-turn, 1.75-mile temporary street circuit
Practice Sessions: Friday, July 6 from 11:05-11:35 a.m. EDT (group A), 11:35 a.m. - 12:05 p.m. EDT (group B - all cars) and 1:55-2:55 p.m. EDT; Saturday, July 7 from 9:45-10:45 a.m. EDT
Qualifying: Saturday, July 7 from 1:05-2:25 p.m. EDT
Race: Sunday, July 8 with pre-race activities starting at 12 p.m. EDT and estimated green flag at 1 p.m. EDT
Race broadcast (TV): Sunday, July 8 at 12:30 p.m. EDT on ABC Network
Race broadcast (Radio): IMS Radio Network (Internet Stream - racecontrol.indycar.com) and SiriusXM (XM 94 and Sirius 212)
... notes from The EDJE
** Article first published as For Lotus, New Engine May Be To Little Too Late At Honda Indy Toronto on Technorati **