Lotus has revealed that it has forged an association with Engine Developments, Ltd. – better known as Judd – to develop its new V6 turbo engine, which will compete next year in the IZOD IndyCar Series.
Lotus announced it was going IndyCar racing with its own engine last November, but provided no details of where the new power plant would be sourced. Cosworth was assumed to be a front-running partner, given the connections between that company and Kevin Kalkhoven, co-owner of the KV Racing-Lotus squad that is the lynchpin of the Malaysian-owned, British-based Lotus marque's IndyCar involvement. However, Lotus Motorsport boss Claudio Berro told AUTOSPORT magazine that Engine Developments was its first choice, and that the company has been working on the project since January.
"We needed a partner and we are very happy with Judd," Berro said. "We didn't want to work with a big company like Cosworth, because everyone would call our engine a Cosworth and not a Lotus."
John Judd's company has experience of IndyCar racing from the old 2.65-liter turbo V8 formula, when it took over the development of a V8 that started life as a Honda and competed during the 1980s on the CART circuit as a Judd, scoring a victory at Pocono in 1988 with Bobby Rahal. It was also involved in some prototype work for Toyota when that company first went IndyCar racing and, in 2002, Judd was briefly slated to return to IndyCar competition in partnership with MG, when CART planned a switch to a normally aspirated formula. However, that plan was scrapped when CART opted to retain its turbo engines. Judd says the time is right for a return to American open-wheel racing in partnership with Lotus.
"This is very exciting for us and is just the kind of high-tech manufacturer project we are looking for," enthused Judd.
The first Judd-developed 2.2-liter Lotus turbo V6 IndyCar engine is due to run on the dyno for the first time in September. On-track testing will depend on the timing of the delivery of the new Dallara spec chassis.
Lotus had also announced it would build its own aero kit for the Dallara, but that plan is on hold pending IndyCar CEO Randy Bernard's review of the aero kit plan. Series owners voted unanimously in Brazil last month that they would like to see the kits delayed on grounds of cost and limited development time.