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A Rough And Tumble Round 4 Itaipava Sao Paulo Indy 300 Presented By Nestle

 

Three in a row at Sao Paulo! Congrats @12WillPower! #saopauloindy twitpic.com/9fau1g - Image Credit Penske Racing via TWEET

A Rough And Tumble Round 4 Itaipava Sao Paulo Indy 300 Presented By Nestle 

The morning of the fourth round in the IZOD IndyCar Series in Sao Paulo, Brazil started in having the DW12 IndyCars warm-up in light showers with the drivers finding dryer areas of the track to run and post the best times. When this happens in Sao Paulo, people begin to understand why this part of Brazil is known as the “Land Of Drizzle”.

The start time was moved up about 15 minutes in order to account for the weather on the Anhembi temporary street circuit (the fourth street/road race course of the 2012 season), which has turned sunny, with the starting grid of the 26 car field to reflect this starting order:

Event: Itaipava Sao Paulo Indy 300 – Round 4

Track: Sao Paulo Street Circuit 2.536 mile(s)

Report: Starting Line Up IZOD IndyCar Series – Tire Designation for Race April 29, 2012


SP — Car — Driver — Name — C/E/T — Start Tire

1 12 Power, Will D/C/F Alternate

2 10 Franchitti, Dario D/H/F Alternate

3 9 Dixon, Scott D/H/F Alternate

4 27 Hinchcliffe, James D/C/F Alternate

5 28 Hunter-Reay, Ryan D/C/F Primary

6 38 Rahal, Graham D/H/F Alternate

 

7 14 Conway, Mike D/H/F Alternate

8 67 Newgarden, Josef (R) D/H/F Alternate

9 2 Briscoe, Ryan D/C/F Alternate

10 26 Andretti, Marco D/C/F Primary

11 11 Kanaan, Tony D/C/F Alternate

12 8 Barrichello, Rubens D/C/F Alternate

 

13 5 Viso, EJ D/C/F Alternate

14 4 Hildebrand, JR D/C/F Primary

15 83 Kimball, Charlie D/H/F Alternate

16 77 Pagenaud, Simon (R) D/H/F Primary

17 19 Jakes, James D/H/F Primary

18 3 Castroneves, Helio D/C/F Primary

19 25 Beatriz, Ana D/C/F Primary

20 20 Carpenter, Ed D/C/F Alternate

 

21 78 de Silvestro, Simona D/L/F Primary

22 7 Bourdais, Sebastien D/L/F Primary

23 22 Servia, Oriol D/L/F Primary

24 6 Legge, Katherine (R) D/L/F Primary

25 15 Sato, Takuma D/H/F Primary

26 18 Wilson, Justin D/H/F Primary

(R) Rookie

 

Pursuant to Rule 14.14.6.4.1, Cars 4, 6, 7, 18 & 19 will start on Primary Tires.

(ht: IICS PDF Report)

NOTES: Qualifying lap times for the No. 18 Sonny’s BBQ car have been voided by INDYCAR following post-race technical inspection. Pursuant to Rule 14.4.13.3 of the 2012 IZOD IndyCar Series rulebook: As requested by INDYCAR each Car must run either the cameras or dummy equipment as supplied by BSI/INDYCAR.

Justin Wilson, who had qualified sixth in the Dale Coyne Racing car, will start from the rear.

Not exactly what you want to see between warmup and race, 2nd engine change in 12 hours! Ayayay! Our guys working hard. Image Credit: Oriol Servia via TWEET

Unapproved engine changes, which incur 10-grid spot penalties, were made to the No. 15 Rahal Letterman Lanigan Racing car of Takuma Sato (did not participate in qualifying), the No. 7 Dragon Racing car of Sebastien Bourdais (qualified 19th), the No. 22 Lotus DRR car of Oriol Servia (qualified 24th) and the No. 6 TrueCar Dragon Racing car of Katherine Legge (carried over from Long Beach; qualified 25th).

 

GREEN Flag starts the Itaipava Sao Paulo Indy 300 -

Everyone gets off to a great start with Will Power maintaining the first position. On the first lap, Newgarden and Hinchcliffe battle hard with Newgarden taking the position.

End of the first lap saw Conway taking the position from Hinchcliffe and Dario Franchitti staying tight on Will Power’s wing.

The long, nearly one-mile straight-away featured on this circuit really lets these new DW12’s stretch their legs, so much so that during qualifications, Will Power, who won the two previous races here, set a new track record with a lap of 1 minute, 21.4045 seconds at about 3 minutes left in the Firestone Fast Six qualifications round.

At Lap 4 of 75 – The engine wars have been invigorated with the change to the turbo design on the Honda engines – the top six positions are Power-Chevy, Franchitti-Honda, Dixon-Honda, Newgarden-Honda, Rahal-Honda, and Conway-Honda!

Lap 7 of 75 – AJ Foyt’s Mike Conway is all over Sarah Fisher Racing’s Josef Newgarden to try at taking away the spot as KVRT’s Tony Kanaan passes team-mate Rubens Barrichello.

Announcement Note: Bryan Herta Autosport stayed behind from the race in order to prepare for the INDY500. The team has left the Lotus Legion and will be running the Honda engine the rest of the season.

Pit Stops begin on Lap 10 of 75. Pagenaud is in early and has an adjustment to his front wing for more downforce.

Takuma Sato came into the pits too hot and incurs a drive through penalty … needs a third wing replacement for the weekend.

Lap 13 of 75 – Justin Wilson is one of the big movers starting at the back of the field at P26 up to P18 – Drizzles are beginning to fall so those who waited may be able to have one less stop for rain tires.

Marco Andretti in the pits from P14 and takes on Firestone Reds – drops to P25.

TWEET – The EDJE @theedje -18 laps. 3 commercial breaks. 1 pre-taped segment. Missed passing and pits tops. Awful.

Lap 20 of 75 has Power leading the field by 3.2 seconds ahead of Franchitti, Rahal, Conway, Hunter-Reay, Briscoe, Viso, Barrichello, Carpenter, and the Lotus Dragon Racing of Bourdais.

The Lotus and team-mate to Bourdais at Dragon Racing, Katherine Legge, slaps the wall and damages the right rear of the car.

A wet spot has Ryan Briscoe bringing out the Yellow Flag while under pressure from Rahal.

Full Course Yellow Lap 23 of 75 – Castroneves at P8 is listed as the biggest mover up 10 positions from his start.

TWEET – Formula 1 @F1grid – Sonny’s BBQ car has a gearbox clogged with cornbread problem. #IndyCar

TWEET – F1 Fanatic Live @f1fanaticlive – Under caution it’s Power, Franchitti, Hunter-Reay, Dixon, Conway, Rahal, Pagenaud, Castroneves, Newgarden and Barrichello. #IndyCar

Lap 25 of 75 – Ryan Briscoe’s DW12 is on the flatbed truck and is out of the race – storm clouds are gathering with the winds stepping up a notch.

A two stop strategy seems out of the question given the potential of rain and the timing mix of yellows the race is having.

GREEN Flag – Lap 26 of 75 Side-By-Side – Franchitti spins in turn #1 as he was tapped by Mike Conway – Franchitti’s car is dead – Full Course Caution!

Andretti Autosport's Ryan Hunter-Reay was strong again (as he was in Round 3 in Long Beach) and kept toward to top of the running order all day during this very entertaining race. Image Credit: Marshall Pruett via SPEED

The shake-out has Power leading RHR, Dixon, Castroneves, Barrichello, Kanaan, Viso, Hildebrand, Hinchcliffe, and Sato round out the top 10. The cheers are going up around the track as the three favorite sons in the race are Helio-P4, Rubens-P5, and TK-P6 in the top 10.

Franchitti is able to get restarted, gets checked out in the pits, and rejoins the field.

Side-By-Side restart Lap 29 of 75 – Everyone gets through Turn 1 but several cars 4-6 collect themselves in Turn 3.de Silvestro taps Newgarden and causes a blockage – two cars are damaged and in the pits – Newgarden and Jakes.

Newgarden rejoins the race – the DW12 is a much stronger and resilient chassis and aero-package. Simona de Silvestro stalled on track.

Top six positions are Power, RHR, Dixon, Kanaan, Barrichello, and Viso. A favorite daughter Ana Beatriz occupies P7.

GREEN Flag on Lap 33 of 75. Everyone through Turn 1, 2, and 3. RHR is all over the back of Power but the string of cars seems stable.

TWEET – Donna Lingley @MissLingley – Finally, we’re racing again. Double file restarts on street circuits don’t work. #IndyCar

TWEET – Brian J. Wiggins @brian_wiggins – Aussie, American, New Zealander, Brazilian, Brazilian. #Diverse #IndyCar

Lap 37 – SeaBass goes off in the run-off area and needs assistance – a rough day for Lotus Dragon Racing.

Lap 38 – Crossed Flags signify that this race is official … no matter what happens from now on, if the race is stopped, it counts.

Franchitti is on a charge as Franchitti passed Castroneves for P8. KVRT cars are P4, P5 and P6 (TK, Rubens, and Viso).

Lap 40 of 75 – Top 10 are Power (leading all laps) by 1.6 seconds over Ryan Hunter-Reay, Dixon, Kanaan, Rubens, Viso, Beatriz, Franchitti, Helio, and Sato with the biggest move of the day up 15 positions!

Tony Kanaan goes to the pits (last stop) so everyone moves up one. Franchitti giving fits to Beatriz and loosess a couple of positions. Castroneves has damage to his front wing but continues on after passing fellow country-person, Beatriz.

Lap 45 of 75 … 30 laps to go:

TWEET – Allen Wedge @AllenWedge – ALmost all of the field is throwing down their fastest laps of the race right now #indycar

Franchitti has moved up plus 16 after restarting from the back of the field. Dario now running at P8. Team-mate Scott Dixon in the pits for his assumed last stop.

Dreyer and Reinblod’s Lotus driven by Servia in for final pit-stop, comes out at P17 … will be running Chevy for the rest of the season.

TWEET – AJFoytRacing @AJFoytRacing – How come Franchitti can improve 10 spots under yellow by ducking into pits before green & no one notices? #saopauloindy #indycar

Sounds like … sour grapes?

TWEET – F1 Paddock @Formula1Paddock – Rubens Barrichello up to 5th now! #IndyCar

TWEET – Bruno Tarulli @BrunoTarulli34 – 50 vueltas cumplidas en Brasil! #IndyCar

Twenty Laps to go – Power by 2.6 seconds over RHR, Franchitti (oh, yes), Castroneves, and Sato. Pit-stops by leaders and Power has a great stop – Power on cold tires as Dixon takes the position away from Power in Turn 11.

Franchitti – good stop … does Dixon need to come in?

Hichcliffe and Hildebrand battle with Manica taking the position. Ed Carpenter is running strong in P5 – very good.

Everyone is waiting on Dixon to see if he needs to come in.

15 laps to go and Castroneves goes off into runoff area and drops from lead to P7. The pit-stops continue as the order continues to change.

TWEET – Donna Lingley @MissLingley – Hmmmm, Brazilian tv director cuts away from Helio making a mistake. Helio is Brazilian. Useless! #IndyCar

TWEET – Magnificent Geoffrey @MagnificentGeof – Credit to the TV director, the coverage of this race has been outstanding(ly questionable) #IndyCar

TWEET – Christopher Estrada @estradawriting – Less than 20 laps to go here at #SaoPauloIndy. 9-Dixon leads 12-Power, 28-HunterReay, 5-Viso and 10-Franchitti. #IndyCar #SaoPauloIndy

Viso in the Pits – Good stop. Dixon has a 2.8 second lead but … needs a splash of fuel?!

Great track action all race long – just great racing all around. Rahal takes P12 away from the Fuzzy’s car of Ed Carpenter – big difference between Reds and Primary compound tires.

Josef Newgarden was racy throughout the event but his day came to an end when he got mixed up in a late race multi-car incident. Pictured here, he is followed by Brazilians Helio Castroneves and Tony Kanaan. Image Credit: Marshall Pruett via SPEED

TWEET – Ross Bynum @therossbynum – Newgarden with fastest lap in race so far…wow. #IndyCar #SaoPauloIndy @SFHRindy @SarahFisher

Lap 60 of 75 has Dixon by 3.1 seconds over Power, RHR, Dario, Helio, Rubens, Sato, Manica, Conway, and JR Hildebrand.

Carpenter spins – Full course caution – Pits currently closed – All cars on Lap 63 track behind caution car – Pits OPEN!

TWEET – Danielle Asphall @DannieAsphall – Man, I’m a ball of nerves right now. #IndyCar #saopauloindy

Scott Dixon in … fuel … and out in P13 which sets up a RESTART with Power, RHR, Dario Franchitti, and Helio Castroneves on the front two rows – WOW!!!!!

TWEET – F1 Fanatic Live @f1fanaticlive – Looks like a disaster for Dixon – he gambled on staying out but his lead has been destroyed now. #IndyCar

TWEET – IndyCar Mom @IndyCarMom – I have to say how bad I want @rubarrichello to win so we can gain some #F1 fans. #callmedesparate #willbegforfans #iloveindycar #IndyCar

TWEET – Tim Moran @golic_2004 – Another car hits the wall. Looks like Newgarden… Caution #Indycar

This is the 12th consecutive race that Power has led. Newgarden pulls into the pits – broken, out of the race.

TWEET  – Ivan Renko @Ivan_Renko – Is the IZOD #IndyCar Series called “Formula Indy” in Brazil? I kinda like it.

Lap 67 of 75 RESTART – GREEN  Flag – Side-By-Side – A bunch of cars get balled up in turn 2 – a ton of chassis are just a mess – Full Course Caution!!!

Eight cars involved – Conway hits the wall in Turn 2 as he runs out of room – A call for all of the flatbeds in Sao Paulo to come to the track is put out – RED ALERT In Red Corner!

TWEET  – Tom Rowell @senorsoupe – That restart is why we love banzai Takuma Sato! He seemed to use the force just to get his car slow enough to get through turn 1 #indycar

New top 10 are Power, Hunter-Reay, Sato, Franchitti, Castroneves, Hinchcliffe, Hildebrand, Kimball, Viso, and Barrichello.

The "Formula IndyCars" get all piled up when Mike Conway runs out of room running on the outside of turn 2 and crunches the wall. One car after another had their nose cones collect under the car in front of them until eight cars were stopped and unable to continue. Image Credit: Sini Salminen via TWEET

TWEET – Sini Salminen @SiniF1 – RT @lightmasf1: ooooops! #IndyCar twitpic.com/9fagpq

Lap 71 of 75 – TWEET – Chris Tansley @ChrisTansley – Does the safety car have enough fuel? #Indycar

TWEET  – Austin Brauser @austinbrauser – What are the odds? An 8 car pile up and EJ Viso is not involved! #indycar #saopauloindy

Lap 72 RESTART – GREEN Flag Side-By-Side – Sambadrome turn 1 everyone safely through – Power out positions RHR!

Sato in the mix – tracking RHR – Castroneves being chased by Dario Franchitti. Chevy, Chevy, Honda, Chevy, Honda in top five!

2 Laps to go – Will Power looks strong and may only be beaten if he makes a mistake – no drizzles, clear track, Paul Blevin waves the White Flag!

TWEET – Dan Takyi @D4NT4KY1 – Final lap now! Sato will be third! Sadly Rubens is only 10th after being 3rd at one stage #IndyCar

Helio Castroneves was the highest placing driver of the hometown contingent at P4. He was able to hold off Dario Franchitti and survive a practice crash and a couple of on-track incidents to come back to P2 in season championship points. Image Credit: Marshall Pruett via SPEED

Checkered Flag – Will Power Three-Peats the Sambadrome!!! Wins third race on the season – Dixon, nearest in points, drops positions.

TWEET – IZOD IndyCar Series @IndyCar – It’s @12WillPower again! AAR’s Hunter-Reay and RLR’s Sato finish on podium, Sato’s first one! #saopauloindy #indycar2012

TWEET – Matt White @MattW1986 – Good recovery from @dariofranchitti to 5th #indycar

TWEET  – Dave Furst @DaveFurst – If it’s a non-oval, its Will Power. It’ll be interesting to see how the #IndyCar dynamic changes during the month of May. #Indy500

TWEET – lookingspiffy @lookingspiffy – Good stuff from the #BrazilianMafia today. Most vexed by that last restart, though. #IndyCar

Will Power jumps off of the front nose of his Verizon Team Penske #12 – in interview says he is happy that it did not really rain on the race all day.

Ryan Hunter-Reay – “Will runs such a clean race. I tried to jump him but he was able to keep the position on the restart.”

TAKU – “We had a nice race, really – I’m really excited for Rahal Letterman Lanigan Racing – Fantastic. We finally got a good result going into Indianapolis.”

Helio Castroneves started in P20 and ends up P4 as the highest placing Brazilian! “In the end, Takuma made a kamikaze move and was able to hold until the end.

The Twitter, the people were supporting me saying nice things.”

Oriol Servia (#22 – for the last time – Lotus DRR): “We almost didn’t make the start of the race. The guys did an amazing job. They were working until the last second putting the engine together and we didn’t think that we were going to make it. Somehow we picked up the best result of the year and we’ll take it.”

Sebastien Bourdais (#7 – Lotus Dragon Racing): “You just need to look at the splits from the race: We have three fastest sectors (corners only : Turns 1 & 2, then T5 and T6) but it is not enough when we get in a pack of cars for a restart or a straight fight. We could have finished in the top 10 if we had not been collected in a multi-car incident that put us a lap down, but that’s racing.”

TWEET – NBC Sports @NBCSports – Will Power earns his third consecutive #indycar win, taking the Sao Paolo 300. See the stats here: scores.nbcsports.msnbc.com/nascar/leaderb… @IndyCar

IZOD IndyCar Series YouTube Race Highlights>>

Engine Wars Update: Chevy, Chevy, Honda, Chevy, Honda, Chevy, Chevy, Honda Chevy, and Chevy … Lotus just misses out of a top 10 finish with Wix Filter Dreyer and Reibold Racing’s Oriol Srevia posting up at P11 in this team’s last race for Lotus this season (will be using Chevrolet-power in their DW12 for the balance of the season). The next closest running Lotus-powered DW12 was McAfee Dragon Racing’s Sebastien Bourdais at P18.

It is now on to the season’s first oval race at the “Greatest Spectacle In Racing” with the month of May’s INDY500!

… notes from The EDJE


** Article first published as “A Rough And Tumble Round 4 Itaipava Sao Paulo Indy 300 Presented By Nestle” at Technorati **

Lotus Legion May Not Be At Full Strength At Indy500 – UPDATED

With plenty to risk and little to gain by spending the money to race in Brazil, Bryan Herta and team co-owner Steve Newey will leave the Lotus Barracuda-BHA and Alex Tagliani's pit stall empty in Sao Paulo. Image Credit: Edmund Jenks (2012)

 

Lotus Legion May Not Be At Full Strength At Indy500 (UPDATE At End)

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.

Katherine Legge of Marina Del Rey, CA based Dragon Racing. Image Credit: Edmund Jenks (2012)

This excerpted and edited from SPEED.com -

INDYCAR: Tough Decisions Pending By The Series, Lotus, Its Teams

Lotus confirms in a SPEED.com exclusive that two of its teams have asked to switch manufacturers, but is it what the series needs and will it be allowed?
Marshall Pruett | Posted April 18, 2012

IndyCar fans have been treated to arguably the three best opening races in series history, but at the back of the grid, a much more serious—and far less pleasant—concern has finally reached its boiling point.

With three rounds completed, the bulk of the Lotus-powered teams have been mostly invisible in the final results, experiencing one gut-wrenching problem after another.

—-

The conflict between Lotus and its teams reached a fever pitch when the marque informed its entrants that engines would not be made available for the April 4th test at Indianapolis, leaving Bryan Herta Autosport, Dragon Racing, HVM Racing and Lotus DRR in a very awkward position.

With the prospect of showing up to Indy next month with zero miles of testing on the Lotus engine around the 2.5-mile oval (not to mention teams starting IndyCar’s most important event with no laps of testing at the Brickyard on their Dallara DW12s), some of its teams have now filed breach of contract paperwork with the manufacturer.

A dispute between the manufacturer and those teams regarding the exact wording and obligations in their supply contracts has ensued, but the message being sent is clear: showing up late and unprepared for IndyCar’s Super Bowl is a surefire way to perform poorly, to possibly miss making the show and, when all is said and done, to kiss their sponsors goodbye.

—-

Asked what the best-case scenario would be to come out of the breach of contract notices, one owner said receiving permission from the series to switch to a different engine manufacturer was the ultimate goal.

Simona de Silvestro of Britain-based HVM Racing. Image Credit: Edmund Jenks (2012)

 

Will Phillips, INDYCAR’s VP of Technology, holds the authority to allow said changes, but declined to comment when asked if he would permit any of the Lotus teams to change manufacturers during the season.

—-

In a follow-up e-mail on Wednesday, Miodrag Kotur, Lotus’ Director of Motorsports Operations, confirmed that “We have also [have two teams], who would like to switch to another engine supplier, but it is still in discussion with us.”

—-

To give some additional context to that scenario, the two Lotus teams would rather spend an additional $1 million to get a Chevy or Honda engine–which will have an increased engine pool size after Indy–and forfeit the money they’ve already paid to Lotus than to stay with their current supplier.

—-

In a half-hour interview just before Sunday’s Long Beach Grand Prix, Kotur fired back at a variety of comments, accusations and questions regarding his employers.

“Since the beginning of the year, there’s a lot of rumors that Lotus is not doing well, that Lotus will not be around, that Lotus will not be at Indy, that Lotus is not able to make the engines…as far as I know we are here…we did not miss any races,” he said. “Obviously, we are a little bit behind from our competitors; we are working very hard with Judd to reach the same level [as] Honda and GM. It is not easy. Those guys are in the business since years at Indy, especially Honda. We are new, and start six months later. I don’t know why and from where these rumors are coming that we are in breach of contract. I would like to know where is the breach of the contract.”

After informing Kotur that the breach of contract issue was no longer a secret, and that missing the Indy test seemed to be the catalyst—the point of no return for some of his teams–he offered a more credible response.

“The teams obviously they complain about this test we haven’t done, but there is some reason–to be able to secure future races, we prefer to keep the engines and to work on them and to continue to develop the engines than to go to this test,” he admitted. “Obviously, it would have been better [to be] there, but this is a decision we have made. And if you go through the contracts, there is nothing saying we have to participate in all the tests. If we had been told to be present at this test by INDYCAR because it was mandatory, we would have been present, but it was not.

“I am in motorsports [for many] years; obviously the more you are testing, the better it is. I don’t want to say we are confident going into Indy without testing on the oval, especially Indianapolis. Maybe if we went there [to the IMS test], maybe we would today have some struggles with the engine. It will be one month for us to have enough engines to be very comfortable, it will be a little bit problematic, but we aren’t in any way in breach of contract.”

Kotur also offered a blunt assessment of the teams Lotus is partnered with, and although it appears he forgot that Bryan Herta Autosport won its first race of 2011 (the Indy 500 with Dan Wheldon) and was running fourth (with Alex Tagliani at Las Vegas) when the second race was cancelled, the Yugoslavian’s sentiment was no less impactful.

Oriol Servia with Dreyer & Deinbold Racing has been one of the most competitive and consistant drivers over the last couple of years. Image Credit: Edmund Jenks (2012)

“Herta, Dreyer, HVM…they cannot also expect to be at the front of the grid,” he said. “Even last year, they were not at the front of the grid. You find the same people at front, Penske and Ganassi. So we not only have to work on the engine, we have to work on the car. And also to work with [Lotus’ teams] on the car. We ask them, ‘Where can we help you?’ I don’t want to say that in one month things will change completely, but slowly, we have improved. By the end of the year, the gap will be completely closed.”

Being on the receiving end of complaints from his teams and criticism from the media was an obvious source of frustration for Kotur and his colleagues.

—-

With a limited number of engines to offer its teams (eight total powerplants for five cars through Long Beach), engines have been sent back to EDL’s base in England between races for inspection, making it hard for teams to conduct private tests on their own.

—-

Provided it comes to fruition, Kotur expects Lotus’ engine pool to nearly double next month.

“We will for sure have more engines for Indy,” he said. “We will need them. It’s a long race, and we will have [practice] before the race. We will have fresh engines for the race. Our plan is to have more or less five additional engines for the race.”

—-

“I think it will be resolved in a few weeks, but we are committed to motorsport,” Kotur said of the nearly completed sale of Lotus. “We in fact want to invest more in the engine program and that is under discussion in the factory. You have to invest if you want to reach a certain level in motorsport. You have to spend it properly. If you see in Formula One, Toyota was spending the most and they didn’t reach the target. Obviously you need money, but you also need time. You need time, you need people and you need money.”

To Lotus’ credit, it appears to be interested in appeasing the two disgruntled teams, but it may be a case of too little, too late.

—-

With the financial health of the two teams serving as the greatest concern, reducing Lotus’ engine supply burden could actually help the manufacturer to solve its problems and to become more competitive at a faster rate.

Stretched painfully thin at the moment, Lotus comes out ahead with a reduced car count, and if Chevy or Honda is capable of adding an extra lease apiece, the two teams can reassure their sponsors that sticking with them—and the series—is a worthwhile venture.

On the other hand, Lotus, (at least judging by some of Kotur’s statements and his general demeanor in our interview), seems interested in ramping up its efforts, so maybe it would be better for all involved to stick together.

[Reference Here]

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.

IndyCar's Lotus Legion becomes less by two out of five - gone are Bryan Herta Autosports and Dreyer Reinbold Racing. Side-by-side racing here at Long Beach looking for new engines are Alex Tagliani (L) and Oriol Servia. Image Credit: Edmund Jenks (2012)

UPDATE:

Lotus Raises IndyCar Commitment
Lotus Press Release – 24 April 2012

When Lotus entered the 2012 IZOD IndyCar Series, the regulatory requirement to supply multiple teams and the late timing of Lotus’ entry placed a significant restriction on the development programme. It was clear from the start that the 2012 season was going to be a huge challenge as Lotus debuted its IndyCar engine, but it was a challenge that Lotus was determined to meet.

Lotus was further hindered by unanticipated difficulties caused by the widely reported change of ownership and the subsequent restrictions on resources. To have achieved a top ten position under these circumstances is pretty impressive.

That said, Lotus has acknowledged that whilst the engine has demonstrated a lot of promise, minimal testing has resulted in reliability issues.

Having now had the experience and feedback from the first three races of the season, Lotus undertook a strategic review of its position to decide what course of action would be in the best interests of IndyCar and the teams it supports.

Following this review, Lotus is pleased to announce in cooperation with IndyCar that, whilst it remains fully committed to IndyCar in the long term, Lotus has taken the decision to reduce the number of cars it runs from five to three for the remainder of the season. As a consequence of this decision, Lotus has made offers to Bryan Herta Autosport LLC and Dreyer & Reinbold Racing LLC to end the agreements with them. Bryan Herta Autosport LLC will not participate in any further races as a Lotus team and Dreyer & Reinbold Racing LLC will race one more time in Brazil next weekend.

Going forward, Lotus is excited to be working closely with Lotus HVM Racing, the original partner team and Lotus Dragon Racing, who delivered Lotus’ best result so far this season. Lotus wishes Bryan Herta Autosport LLC and Dreyer & Reinbold LLC the very best of luck for the future.

Lotus also intends to continue to assist its engine supplier Engine Developments Limited (EDL) by providing additional resources and financial support to expedite the development program. The details of the arrangement are currently being finalised and the additional support should result in an increased engine performance for the rest of the season.

Claudio Berro, Director of Motorsport Group Lotus, said: “Lotus in IndyCar is like David versus Goliath. We are and always will be a niche British sports car company built for the few not the many. That said I’m delighted with our solution and I can assure everybody that the actions were taken after careful consideration and will assist in ensuring the brand’s high racing ambitions and the high expectations of the IndyCar community are realised.”

Randy Bernard, CEO IndyCar, commented: “IndyCar is committed to ensuring that our teams and manufacturers have a platform to remain competitive. We support Lotus’ decision and will assist Dreyer & Reinbold Racing and Bryan Herta Autosport in securing engine support for the remainder of the season.”

ENDS

Truthfully … how in the HE-double toothpicks can Lotus say, as they did in the title of their presser, “Lotus Raises IndyCar Commitment” when they greatly reduce the talent (DRR’s Oriol Servia & BHA’s Alex Tagliani) and car count. This action suggests that they are backing away and limiting the chances of sharing testing information with the one very-proven driver they have left – four-time ChampCar World Series Champion (turbo-charged powered engines) Sebastien Bourdais (apologies to Katherine Legge and Simona De Silvestro).

… notes from The EDJE

 

** Article first published as Lotus Legion May Not Be at Full Strength at Indy500 on Technorati **

Is Lotus Having Trouble Delivering DW12 Engines?

Lotus Dragon Racing teammates Sebastien Bourdais and Katherine Legge compare notes during the spring session for IZOD IndyCar Series teams held at Sebring, Florida. Image Credit: Dave Lewandowski via IZOD IndyCar Series

Is the first race of the season through the streets of Saint Petersburg in jeopardy for teams that use the newest of engines developed for use in the IZOD IndyCar Series for 2012?

These are the kind of questions that arise when one sees a Tweet communication on Twitter like the one that follows:

brant james@brantjames

Says SebastIen Bourdais: he expects to race in@GPSTPETE#indycarbut his Dragon Racing car currently no Lotus engine. Disconcerting? yes.

Lotus Dragon Racing driver, Katherine Legge during the Sebring spring test session. Image Credit: LAT via IZOD IndyCar Series

Is this just an issue with Seabass’s DW12 or is this portend a wider problem with Lotus Dragon Racing and will this effect the second car on the team, the TrueCar sponsored DW12 driven by Kathrine Legge?

Lotus Bryan Herta Autosport's Alex Tagliani in his Barracuda Networks sponsored DW12 during the Sebring spring test session. Image Credit: LAT via IZOD IndyCar Series

Will this situation effect the rest of the teams (Bryan Herta Autosport, Lotus Dreyer & Reinbold Racing, Lotus HVM Racing) that are using the Lotus/Judd 2.2 litre turbo-charged power plant?

If Lotus engines are in short supply, how will this potential situation play out for the “Lotus Legion” for the balance of the 2012 season?

Just askin’!

UPDATE:

This excerpted and edited from Autoweek -

Bourdais, a four-time Champ Car champion embarking on a full-time IndyCar season, told Autoweek that as of Wednesday morning, Lotus had not provided an engine for his car. He is entered for the Sunday race. He said he expects to participate. But he also expected to have an engine by now. Teammate Katherine Legge’s engine is scheduled, he said, to arrive on Wednesday.

“The only question mark is mine,” Bourdais said. “We don’t know. They haven’t given us a date yet. That is the big question mark. The team is ready. The car is ready. It’s just a matter of putting something in it that will get the car moving forward.”

Bourdais said team owner Jay Penske is “a victim in all this.”

“[Lotus] told us they would have seven or eight engines by the first race. But since my engine is coming . . . I don’t know when, either there are spare engines they don’t want to give to us or they don’t have any engines at all,” Bourdais added. “And that I don’t know.”

Dragon received just one engine during spring testing at Sebring International Raceway–and not until Wednesday night of the four-day session–severely limiting both Bourdais and Legge’s test time.

“It definitely doesn’t get us anywhere near where we want to be,” Bourdais said, adding that he and Dragon “expect nothing” results-wise from the opening weeks of the season.

Bourdais said his team is funded for a full campaign, but he will not race at Milwaukee on June 16 because of a commitment to race in the 24 Hours of Le Mans.
[Reference Here]

UPDATE #2 – Thursday night, approximately 8:00PM PT

Edmund Jenks @TheEDJE
RT @JennaFryer: Word on the street is Bourdais got his Lotus tonight #indycar #lotus #ccws #gpstpete #dragonracing

… notes from The EDJE

The Lotus Legion Grows Its Reach Into The ALMS

The 2012 Lotus Evora GTE will make its public on track debut on April 14 at the Toyota Long Beach Grand Prix. Image Credit: Group Lotus via AutoWeek

Alex Job Racing and Group Lotus will be joining forces in a partnership to compete the Lotus Evora GTE in the 2012 American Le Mans Series (ALMS) GT Class. Due the the lateness of the announcement, the agreement will have the effort miss the first race of the season at the 12 Hours of Sebring (March 17), but the good news for “Angelinos” is that they will debut at the Toyota Grand Prix of Long Beach!

Group Lotus CEO Dany Bahar said, “We are focused on winning. Alex Job has one of the best records in sports-car racing. We look forward to working together and developing a top-tier team over the coming years. Racing is a core component of the Lotus brand, and we are thrilled to have this new partnership to further enhance our winning racing heritage.”

The team will be officially addressed as Lotus Alex Job Racing (or Lotus AJR) and this partnership marks the first time Lotus has participated in factory form in the ALMS. Team captain Alex Job confirmed that part-time Izod IndyCar Series racer Townsend Bell will drive the team’s one-car effort, teaming up with AJR driver Bill Sweedler.

“I am excited to announce the racing partnership between Lotus and Alex Job Racing in North America,” team leader and namesake, Alex Job said. “Our efforts and ability to attract Lotus is a testament to the hard work that AJR has put in over the past several years. This partnership, along with our key sponsors William Rast, Battery Tender, and Yokohama represent a new chapter for our seasoned organization and for the ALMS.”

“Bill Sweedler, Townsend Bell, and William Rast CEO – Colin Dyne played the key role in forging this long-term relationship with Lotus,” Job continued. “We collectively look forward to representing this iconic sports-car brand for years to come in GT racing.”

The Evora GTE will be powered by a 4.0-liter V6 Toyota engine featuring Cosworth electronic controls, with redline set at 7,000 rpm. The engine produces 470 hp and 328-lb.-ft. of torque. The racing version of the car weighs 2,740 lbs, and it features a six-speed sequential Xtrac gearbox with a paddle-shift option.

Townsend Bell added, “Having the chance to represent such a great brand like Lotus is simply awesome. The fact that I get to work with one of the best teams in sports-car racing is icing on the cake. I’m really fired-up to work with Lotus AJR and Bill in what will undoubtedly be a great adventure. Time to buckle up!”
(ht: AutoWeek)

This spring, Long Beach will feature the largest gathering of factory teams sponsored by Group Lotus anywhere in the world … ever – certainly in the modern era. We will see the first year IZOD IndyCar Series teams announced to date of Lotus HVM, Lotus Bryan Herta Autosport, Lotus Dragon Racing (IZOD IndyCar’s only West coast located team), and Lotus Dreyer and Reinbold Racing (all running the turbo-charged Lotus/Judd Indy Car engine) join ALMS’s Lotus Alex Job Racing competing on the streets and Shoreline Drive straightaway at Long Beach, California, April 13-15, 2012. Welcome the era of the Lotus Legion in American motorsports racing.

… notes from The EDJE


** Article first published as The Lotus Legion Grows Its Reach Into The ALMS on Technorati **

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