Lotus is planning to power the new Esprit with its own design for a V8 engine, company boss Dany Bahar has revealed to Autocar.
Lotus Cars, which announced last month that it would build engines for the new 2012 IZOD IndyCar Series rules – marking the first time the brand has put its name to a racing engine – is currently doing a feasibility on the possibility of an all-new V8 to be engineered at its Hethel, UK base, which would appear in the 2012 Esprit and a V6 for the new Elan and other models, according to Bahar.
“We have done three engines for other manufacturers; why not do it ourselves?” Bahar told Autocar. “The engine is the heart of a sports car; we should do our own product.”
Bahar admitted that despite the high investment costs of developing two new engines it could end up paying dividends with future cost savings brought about through commonality of parts.
Lotus engineering chief Wolf Zimmerman also revealed that the planned three-strong family of mid-engined Lotuses that will start with the Esprit will share a common platform, brakes, suspension and electrical systems.
Bahar also revealed that customer reaction to the new Esprit being powered by a Toyota V8, as was originally planned, was behind the decision. “In the mind of sports car enthusiasts, Toyota power might not be good enough,” he said.
However, the final decision on whether Lotus will green-light the cash for engine development will not be made until the end of January. “The decision then will be purely financial,” said Bahar.