Lola has warned that maintaining a single chassis supplier is the only cost-effective option for the next generation IndyCar Series chassis.
The British company is one of five contenders for the 2012 IndyCar deal, along with Swift, Dallara and new contenders BAT and DeltaWing. The latter has made reintroducing multiple chassis builders a key part of its bid, declaring that its design is a rules concept that other companies can build. But Lola's head of special projects, Peter McCool, said that while his company would love a return to the level of chassis competition it enjoyed in CART's heyday, it did not believe such a situation was sustainable now.
"Intense competition and battles with other constructors is a fantastic spectacle and a rich environment for our engineers to be in," McCool said. "However it is not conducive to keeping cost down. Which has been one key criteria.
"The R&D alone is cost prohibitive and at present it would be counter productive for the IndyCar series. This is exactly why the dual body style Lola IndyCars will short cut a great deal of the concerns of the series. A return to multi-chassis grids may well be one option in stronger economic times. If the landscape is right then Lola in terms of the engineering challenge would enjoy this environment."
Lola's proposal instead features two alternative body styles for teams to choose, which will be performance balanced.
"The main reason for choosing one Lola bodywork configuration over the other would be a preference for the visual variety," McCool explained. "How it will work practically is that Lola will match the configurations in the wind tunnel across the entire ride height range to ensure parity.
"It is most probable that the teams' engineers will try very hard to get an advantage from one kit or the other, but there will be means of policing that action.
"Lola has also designed a series of sized and configured aero blockers for the underbody that can be stipulated at a particular race venue. These will have the purpose of varying the downforce where required, but also ensure that one design does not gain an advantage over the other."
Another central element of the Lola concept is that the same basic chassis would be used for both IndyCar and feeder category Indy Lights, which McCool reckons could be the key to increasing grid sizes.
"The common chassis idea was creative thinking at Lola and generates a cost effective solution in the current economic climate and secondly in trying to assist the teams in terms of pragmatic racing in two series that run on the same bill," he said. "The crossover when you look hard at it helps both series and will encourage new teams to enter both IndyCar and Indy Lights. Above all it will ensure over subscribed Indy 500 grids come May."
Lola also hopes its design would provide significantly better racing via an underbody and rear end design that aims to eliminate turbulent wakes, and that it would offer a significant step forward in safety.