New Lotus partner HVM could run Jean Alesi in the 2012 Indianapolis 500 as the team continues to evaluate operating a second car full time in the IZOD IndyCar Series next season.
HVM, along with Bryan Herta Autosport and Dreyer & Reinbold, was named yesterday as an official partner of Group Lotus. The British sports car manufacturer is entering the sport as an engine supplier in 2012, using V6 turbocharged units built by Judd.
The Lotus-backed Alesi (ABOVE) is intent on making his debut at Indianapolis next May at the age of 47, and Dreyer & Reinbold was tipped as a likely place for him given its announced plan to run a third car at Indy next year. But HVM team owner Keith Wiggins says the idea of his team running the Frenchman alongside regular driver Simona de Silvestro had already been discussed as well.
"That option was suggested, but it would be Lotus' decision rather than ours and it would probably only be for Indianapolis," he said. "It's been talked about, but it is their decision."
"We are contracted to Simona through until 2013, but we are looking at other drivers as well though we need to secure backing for that."
Wiggins added that obtaining a factory deal was a huge boost for his squad and that he was looking forward to working on the development process: "It is a partnership so that means we will receive technical assistance and will play a role in developing the engine moving forward as well as chassis development.
"We are a factory-supported team. Lotus and HVM is looking for information from multiple cars during the season and at the moment we only have one car confirmed though we are working on running a second. The plan is to run partnerships with several teams to pool information and speed up development."
Asked whether the HVM cars would race in traditional green and yellow Lotus livery, as was expected for factory-supported machines, Wiggins replied: "We are staying with our partner, Nuclear Energy colors, but the livery will suitably merge and reflect our association with Lotus.
"Funnily enough, agreeing the color scheme was one of the reasons why it took so long to cement the deal."