Commonality, evolution trump revolution in Lola 2012 IndyCar concepts

The 2012 IndyCar, as reimagined by Lola Group (via www.lolacars.com)
Well that's the way that I want it to stay
and I always want it to be that way for my Lola
la la la la Lola
The Kinks - Lola


IndyCar fans reeling from the major paradigm shift (and borderline pornography) of the DeltaWing concept IndyCar certainly got their warm fuzzies back with today's release of Lola Group's long-awaited concept renderings.

All things considered, the 2012 Lolas are barely evolutionary compared to the more radical offerings from Dallara, Swift, and DeltaWing. Instead, Lola's concepts focus on the idea of two aero-matched but visually different car concepts, as well as making the chassis eligible for Firestone Indy Lights competition simultaneously with the IZOD IndyCar Series.

On the surface, the Lola chassis are very similar to the existing IndyCar platform. However, Lola claims to have "found a cost effective and simple breakthrough to ensure that there is a minimum wake for following car" at the rear underbody. Presumably, this refers to a "rear-impact structure" that bears some resemblance to Swift's "mushroom buster" concept.

What Lola brings to the table that other manufacturers have not thus far is two-fold. First, Lola's twin chassis will be aerodynamically matched so that there are no advantages to choosing one over the other. However, certain areas of the chassis can be mixed and matched to create a visual distinction between cars, including the top surface of the nose, wings and endplates, roll hoop, and mirrors.

The second distinction Lola enjoys over competing submissions is that the Lola can be raced in either the IZOD IndyCar Series or the Firestone Indy Lights Series through common chassis, nosebox, fuel system and cockpit instrumentation. The Lola can be modified to be run between series by way of an "update pack." While the cost savings of the Lola chassis over the current formula is unclear, the ability to run the same chassis between two separate series does offer an attractive "package deal" for prospective owners.

What is not answered by Lola in their releases is whether the new concept is revolutionary enough for either the IZOD IndyCar Series or its fans. Also unanswered thus far are questions about the Firestone Indy Lights Series' planned direction - Lola's assumption that the FILS will employ a similar chassis to the IICS, while definitely common-sensical, seems premature at this point.

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