Lola USA today revealed its proposals for the new specification of car for the IZOD IndyCar Series, slated to begin competition in 2012. The British manufacturer, which has built many successful Indy car designs since the 1960s but has been out of the sport since its last Champ Car was replaced by the short-lived Panoz DP-01, says its designs "deliver advanced technology and capture the legendary IndyCar spirit with practical affordability."
The proposed Lola B12/00 and B12/01 IndyCars are intended to offer a "total solution" package providing "attractive and aero performance balanced racecars that will deliver a return to close and gladiatorial racing," Lola said in a statement. "Safety, efficiency, styling and affordability have been at the forefront of the Lola special projects team that have been working on this project throughout 2009 to date."
At the heart of Lola's proposal is the dual body style concept developed extensively by Lola engineers. The company claims that this work "has already received very positive comments from the IndyCar fan fraternity," adding that this concept "will give exciting visual variety to the IZOD IndyCar grid and stimulate teams, drivers and fans alike."
The two styles highlighted in the image at left will be performance matched but use the same common chassis. Parity in aero performance will be maintained across the ride height range to ensure that no advantage is gained by either kit. Both styles of cars can be raced without technical advantage and with different engines. Common parts throughout will enable teams to switch upper surface styles should they choose to do so.
Lola has gone in a different direction from the other contenders by offering commonality between its chassis and IndyCar's ladder series formula, Indy Lights. The Lola chassis for IndyCar will also be eligible for the Firestone Indy Lights Championship, with the aim of enabling Indy Lights teams to graduate more cost effectively to the IZOD IndyCar Series, while making it more commercially attractive for teams to enter cars in both series and to entice new entries overall. In addition, Lola says, the ease of changing the car specifications from one series to the other will ensure high quality and full entries for the Indy 500.
In terms of safety, Lola has worked on reducing the susceptibility of a "take-off" scenario for its cars. Lola USA has pinpointed specific areas using CFD methods to ensure a high yaw angle stability is maintained on the car. Less variation to total aero load on the rear wing will be optimized with pitch angle changes. Enhanced rear crash structures, a long front nosebox and increased head protection have also been a focus of the designs.
Like the other contenders, Lola affirmed that it would assemble cars in the United States, and is working on establishing partnerships toward that end. Lola today also confirms that it will be selecting a new assembly facility in the USA. Discussions with U.S. business partners for component supply are at an advanced level. Lola is mindful of supporting as many existing American jobs as can be achieved through this opportunity.
Lola has been working with and commissioned high-tech universities to work on environmentally sustainable materials and other green technologies. Maximum effort will also be utilized by Lola engineers to ensure that minimum energy is lost by the racecars when on track.
“For Lola, it is imperative that fans enjoy the cars and a great racing spectacle at trackside and on TV,” explained Lola Executive Chairman Martin Birrane. “Lola has endeavored to capture the great spirit and heritage of Indy car racing in its thorough commercial and engineering studies. With its vast experience in producing powerful single-seaters, Lola is proud to be considered as a partner in writing the next chapter for the IndyCar nation.”