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Lotus 2012 Engine - Details?

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  • Lotus 2012 Engine - Details?

    There is lot's of info out on the web about various racing engines both successful and unsuccessful, but I don't see much on the troubled 2012 Lotus engine. Is there something here or out on the Web at large that gives the full story?

    Thanks

  • #2
    Google it and you'll find a lot of stories about the engine. It was essentially underfunded and underdeveloped. The engine was built by John Judd - but the green light from Lotus didn't come until May 2011. That put them at least a half a year behind both Honda and Chevy. They were constantly trying to play catch up...had a team or two jump on board at the last moment...which taxed them even further. When the season began and the power just was not there - they had a bunch of teams bail and by the time Indy rolled around they only had 2 entries...both of which made the race...but both of which got the black flag for running too slow. They soldiered on through 2011 with one team - HVM - and then asked to be let out of their contract.
    Real drivers don't need fenders!

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    • #3
      Was it just a lack of $$'s or was their something inherently wrong with the basic package? How did the basic layout compare to either the Chevy or Honda? Could it have been saved with cubic $$'s or did it need to go back to the Drawing board?

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      • #4
        They were doing developmental work during the season that should have taken place months earlier at test sessions. I think a lot of the blame has to be directed at Lotus and their internal issues - they controlled the budget and with that the timetable. I think Judd did what they could with the time they had - but it was simply asking too much.

        What also hurt was that the original plan was only to supply three cars (HVM and Dreyer & Reinbold) and then Jay Penske's Dragon Racing came on board at the last minute through a deal brokered with Lotus. Judd was only planning on supporting three cars and suddenly it was 5. That might not sound like a lot - but when they were already struggling - it was too much. Time and effort that should have been spent on developing the engine were instead diverted to simply getting the cars on the grid.

        The kicker is that Dragon dropped them before Indy (a split that involved a lawsuit). Dreyer & Reinbold also left. Newman-Haas was supposed to run the Alesi car - but they bailed and another team had to be thrown together to field the entry.
        Real drivers don't need fenders!

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        • #5
          One of the problems was that the idea for the Lotus Indycar engine came from CEO Danny Bahar, who was way better at spending money than actually making money for Lotus and by the time it was clear that the Lotus Indycar project needed a massive investment to catch up to their rivals Bahar had already had his spending wings clipped by parent company Proton and was ultimately canned in May 2012, ostensibly for spending too much money on private jets and things but more for the lavish amounts he was spending on marketing projects such as the Lotus name being on two F1 teams, the Indycar engine program, a factory Sportscar program, etc..... All under the name of a small brand that hadn't been profitable since Proton had acquired it.

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          • #6
            Originally posted by Adrian Thompson View Post
            Was it just a lack of $$'s or was their something inherently wrong with the basic package? How did the basic layout compare to either the Chevy or Honda? Could it have been saved with cubic $$'s or did it need to go back to the Drawing board?
            The engine was a twin turbo V6, similar layout to the Chevy engine (at the time the Hondas only had a single turbocharger) and I don't think it was a fundamentally flawed design. They just needed more money and I believe it could have been saved with the investment. If by May there was a chance that Lotus would be willing to spend the required funds to improve the engine then I believe that the teams wouldn't have bailed, but nobody really wanted to be cannon fodder at the back of the grid at Indy and it was only due to HVM not being able to get out of the deal and the already announced Alesi plan. At the time Lotus also had a product that was essentially a GP2 racer that you could buy that came with a full crew, including driving instructor Alesi.

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            • #7
              Originally posted by Adrian Thompson View Post
              Was it just a lack of $$'s or was their something inherently wrong with the basic package? How did the basic layout compare to either the Chevy or Honda? Could it have been saved with cubic $$'s or did it need to go back to the Drawing board?
              Good question and maybe someone with a more "engine tech" background can chime in. I really think a lot of it came down to simply not having the time to properly develop the engine.

              I know there was a rule in place that said if a supplier could prove they had a 2.5% deficiency in power to the rest of the field that they could make changes to the engine during the season. Lotus did that and in doing so they had to provide data to the ICS that proved they were down on power.

              The series did approve them to make changes to the motor...but obviously it did not help and they threw in the towel at the end of the season.
              Real drivers don't need fenders!

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              • #8
                Originally posted by Pelican Joe View Post
                They were doing developmental work during the season that should have taken place months earlier at test sessions. I think a lot of the blame has to be directed at Lotus and their internal issues - they controlled the budget and with that the timetable. I think Judd did what they could with the time they had - but it was simply asking too much.
                That goes back to Danny Bahar, who had been spending like a drunken sailor for the previous couple of years and the Proton number crunchers started go ask questions.

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                • #9
                  So the basic architecture is sat on a shelf. I wonder if it could be a starting point for the mythical new third engine supplier that keeps being talked about, or if one did come on board if they would instead start with a clean sheet.

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                  • #10
                    My guess is that they would start with a clean sheet...but who knows. I've also heard that Cosworth has a design ready to go if a supplier would step up to fund it.
                    Real drivers don't need fenders!

                    Comment


                    • #11
                      The mythical third... ??

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                      • #12
                        Honda and Chevrolet are the two engine builders today simply because there's no incentive for others.

                        Indycar, indeed all open wheel racing in the USA is in decline.

                        Fewer tracks, fewer drivers, fewer owners, fewer fans.

                        If the demand was there, and if the publicity was valuable enough, there are many companies who could build competitive engines: Ford, Mercedes, BMW, Toyota, Kia, Mazda, Apple, Google, Microsoft, and at least a dozen more. But they will not.

                        Why? Because the car-buying public, 99% of them, don't give a rat's ass who/what won an Indycar race. It doesn't sell cars.

                        Car racing, especially circle track in the USA, is dying. That's just a simple fact. Sad but true.

                        Check it out yourself. Ask a dozen people, at random, who won at Indy this year. At least 11 of them will respond: "Indy? Duh?"

                        Indianapolis will yet, maybe not too far in the future, be converted to cheap tract housing and shopping malls.

                        And only the ancient faithful will be able to answer the question: "Indianapolis, what's that? A hick town in Indiana?"

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                        • #13
                          And the most trackforum post award goes to jnormanh!

                          Comment


                          • #14
                            Originally posted by jnormanh View Post
                            Car racing, especially circle track in the USA, is dying. That's just a simple fact. Sad but true.

                            Your points are good and spot on but short track oval racing, as opposed to what IndyCar and NASCAR run, is seemingly enjoying something of a rebirth.

                            By far the most popular form of short track racing today is dirt late models and they are adding races. There is a serious grass roots following for them that companies like Lucas Oil have recognized and help to support.

                            And sprint car racing both winged and non winged are doing pretty well, too. The Little 500 actually sold out last Saturday night. Some of that may have been because Tony Stewart was racing but it was still sold out.

                            It varies around the country but the minor leagues of racing are doing pretty well lately for a lot of reasons not the least of which is that the big series have simply priced themselves out of the market. You can go to your local track and take your entire family for an evening of good racing at a price just about anyone can afford.

                            I manage to get to several short tracks every summer and although they did at one time for the most part the fans couldn't care less about IndyCar or Cup anymore.

                            :I500

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                            • #15
                              Lotus and George Biscotti are back at the track!

                              57545236-B614-48F5-85DB-6B07833D083A.jpeg
                              No signature required

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