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INDYCAR: Lotus squeaks in at deadline; engine, aero kit for 2012

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Group Lotus, which spent 2010 as a sponsor of KV Racing and Takuma Sato, will go all in for the 2012 IZOD IndyCar Series season, it will be announced Thursday. The Indianapolis Star's Curt Cavin broke the news earlier today; the official announcement will be made at 5pm ET at the Los Angeles Auto Show and streamed online at indycar.com.

The latest incarnation of Lotus, backed by the Malaysian automaker Proton, will commit to producing V6 turbo engines built on Cosworth technology, joining Honda Performance Development and General Motors as powerplant providers when the new ICONIC committee rules go into effect the season after next.

 

The Lotus-Cosworth alliance is expected to be similar to General Motors' development deal to brand Ilmor Engineering's V6 twin-turbo engine as a Chevrolet.

Cosworth was linked earlier this week to a rumored Fiat involvement in IndyCar that was inspired by circumstantial evidence, but while Fiat is still believed to be interested in bringing its Alfa Romeo marque back to IndyCar for 2013, the Italian automaker did not make the Tuesday deadline for 2012 engine commitments. Cosworth, owned by Kevin Kalkhoven and Gerald Forsythe, has most recently partnered with Lotus to develop V6 competition engines for the Lotus Evora Cup racer, as well as providing F1 engines to HRT, Virgin, and the unrelated Lotus F1 team.

The Lotus nameplate has a significant history at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway and in IndyCar racing, including the Lotus 38's race victory in 1965 that signaled the beginning of the mid-engined revolution at the Brickyard and the 1968 turbine-powered Lotus 56.

The engine announcement will mean that Lotus will join General Motors in developing both an engine and aero kit for the 2012 season. Lotus' aero kit plans were revealed in July.