April 22, 2012

Lotus Legion may not be at full strength at Indy500

There is trouble in the teams that make up the DW12's outfitted with the Lotus/Judd engine and this real issue may show itself before the crown jewel race of the 2012 season.

Marshall Pruett of SPEED.com published an exclusive report highlighting the pressures of a sport that combines technology, competition, and advertising promotion as a history-making business enterprise.

Basically two of the four teams are so unhappy with the fact that Lotus, while not missing its commitment to field engines for races this season, has been really behind on the fulfillment of its commitment to meet the competitive demands of the series. Lotus Dragon Racing (LDR) did not have an engine to mount into one of their two cars (four-time ChampCar World Series Champion, Sebastien Bourdais) before the St. Petersburg race until the very evening before (Thursday) the first practice on Friday. Despite seeing some promising performance in the first two of three races from the four-time ChampCar World Series Champion, the overall performance and the timing of the delivery of engines does not allow any time for testing and this has effected all of the teams that are in the Lotus Legion - Bryan Herta Autosport (BHA), Lotus Dragon Racing (LDR), HVM Racing, and Lotus Dreyer Reinbold Racing (DRR).

This becomes a little like one of those what came first situations ... the chicken or the egg. Worse, is this situation even solvable?

No timely delivery equals no testing / no testing equals no performance results and feedback / no performance eventually leads to no advertisers to sponsor the car.

The main focus is beginning to place pressure on the decisions that need to be made by the series and the business viability of having a Lotus/Judd engine in a car when teams can not be assured of having engines to test and be competitive. Breach of contract filings from the teams in the Lotus Legion are being delivered to the manufacturer - where this goes, no one knows.

The IZOD IndyCar Series key person who will have to make a decision, and soon, on what to do next and avert a true mutiny within the Lotus Legion and a potential disaster is Will Phillips, IndyCar’s VP of Technology.

Lotus may have bit off more than it can chew in delivering on a plan for competitive success. As little as this Lotus’ Director of Motorsports Operations, Miodrag Kotur thinks of the driving capabilities of Sebastien Bourdais and Oriol Servia ... the best solution may be a quick decesion by Will Phillips, INDYCAR’s VP of Technology to have Dragon Racing and Dreyer & Reinbold Racing jump to the other engine manufacturers and let the dust settle before the teams meet to engage the process of being in the field of 33 cars to start the “The Greatest Spectacle in Racing”.

As it stands, (Lotus) Team Barracuda-BHA and Alex Tagliani have decided to skip competing in Round 4/Brazil citing its recent results, and the desire to prepare to defend its win at the Indy 500.

The one thing we all can bet will not be said next week in Sao Paulo ... "Two Lotus cars on the podium" ... as one heard today from Bahrain! 

... notes from The EDJE


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