When Lotus pulls out of IndyCar…

Of the three car manufacturers supporting IndyCar’s new era of engine competition, Lotus is by far the weakest.

Its parent company Proton and a group of friendly Malaysian banks regularly have to inject millions of dollars of capital into Group Lotus to cover operating losses. There are ambitious plans to develop a huge new range of cars and compete head to head with Ferrari. This is interesting coming from a company which has traditionally occupied a much more accessible niche.

Proton has now been sold.

Lotus was the last company to sign up to the engine deal, the last to get its engine on the dyno and the last to begin on track testing.

No surprises that it is now making negative noises about its ability to provide enough engines to supply any teams over and above the number it is contractually obliged to support.

However all this uncertainty won’t necessarily end up being a bad thing for IndyCar.

Why? Because Lotus isn’t really providing anything. The engines are being designed and built in England by John Judd’s firm Engine Developments. These engines are no more Lotuses than KV Racings chassis were Lotuses. It’s just a badging deal.

The problem that would remain is ‘who pays?’ but that’s a much smaller problem than complete loss of an engine manufacturer.

Should Lotus fail, another manufacturer will be able to buy their way into IndyCar at a cut price, and gain a lot of positive exposure.

I believe that’s called a win win!

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