Thursday, June 28, 2012

IndyCar Approves Lotus' Request to Modify Engine. Finally.

From the IndyCar Media Department:

INDYCAR this week approved Lotus' request to modify homologated parts to improve performance of its 2.2-liter, twin-turbocharged V6 engine pursuant to engine technical regulations established before the 2012 IZOD IndyCar Series season.

At mid-season and again at the end of the year, manufacturers whose engines are statistically more than 2½ percent deficient in power may, at the discretion of INDYCAR, make improvements to components to be homologated. Alterations are intended to put the engine within the 2½ percent window, and they will be introduced on only new engines being sent to the track.

Manufacturers must present data to support their case, which is reviewed along with relevant data collected by the sanctioning body's engine support engineers. Manufacturers provide which components they seek to modify, along with projected gains and their scheduled introduction.

Lotus' first modification is scheduled to be introduced at a July 2 test at Mid-Ohio Sports Car Course with the No. 78 Lotus-HVM Racing car driven by Simona de Silvestro. Subsequent modifications are scheduled to be incorporated for the Honda Indy Toronto onJuly 6 -8 , the Indy Grand Prix of Sonoma (Aug. 26-28) and the Grand Prix of Baltimore (Sept. 2 -4 ).

INDYCAR director of engine development Trevor Knowles said Chevrolet and Honda have been apprised of Lotus' modification schedule. Old parts remain homologated until 2013.

The engine rules will be stable through the 2016 IZOD IndyCar Series season, with any corrections or modifications decided by INDYCAR after consultation with the INDYCAR Engine Committee.

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While the timing of this event will help de Silvestro salvage a season that would otherwise see her sitting in the pits, it's unfortunate that they didn't arrive at this decision until well after the Indianapolis 500, when de Silvestro and Jean Alesi were both black flagged for too-low speeds. I still think Lotus needs to apologize to de Silvestro, Alesi, and their teams' sponsors for saddling the two drivers with sub-par engines.

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