Rumors are swirling that Lotus Group is looking to join the Indycar Series in 2010 as a way to promote the Lotus brand. James Rossiter is supposedly being backed by Lotus in 2010 at KVRT as a Team Lotus USA/KVRT car. James tested at Barber with KVRT and ran around the middle of the pack.
However, this story keeps evolving. Today Autocar is reporting that Lotus has confirmed they will be returning to Indycar racing at the season opening event in Sao Paolo on March 14th.
"Although full details are yet to be confirmed, it is expected a Lotus-branded team will run two cars in the championship under the Team Lotus USA banner. They will be Dallara built and Honda powered."
Now, that right there is a bit of a surprise. We had expected James Rossiter to run at KVRT with Lotus backing, but if the Lotus branded team is to be 2 cars, I'm not sure exactly what that means. Will KVRT be running four cars full time with two cars as KVRT and two cars as Team Lotus USA? Maybe there will be two KVRT/Team Lotus USA cars (Sato and Rossiter) with E.J. Viso competing as KVRT? Or will Team Lotus end up being a completely different entity altogether.
Either way, this is a pretty big development if an additional car comes out of the Lotus deal.
But the bigger development here is that Lotus Group just announced a partnership with Kevin Kalkhoven-owned Cosworth to develop engines for Lotus' road cars as well as all Lotus motorsport projects. Now, this would explain why Lotus Group would approach KVRT to help them run their program.
Considering Lotus Group wants to get involved, and they just recently signed a deal with Cosworth to develop both road and racing engines for them, is it that far fetched to believe that Lotus is looking to make a bid to join Honda in 2012 in the Indycar Series?
"Currently Honda supplies the 3.5-litre V8 powerplants in Indycar, but Lotus is said to be considering a bid to takeover the supply when Honda's contract ends in 2011."
This Team Lotus USA and Lotus Group's involvement in the Izod Indycar Series sounds like it is about to pick up. Watching the developments surrounding Lotus Group will be fun to watch heading into the not-so-distant future.
Honda might have someone to play with after all.
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