Bryan Herta Autosport, which won this year's Indianapolis 500 with the late Dan Wheldon, and HVM are reportedly among the teams in contention to land a factory deal with Lotus when the manufacturer joins the IZOD IndyCar Series next season.
AUTOSPORT reports that five teams are in negotiations to use the British sports car maker's new Judd-built turbo engine, but that Bryan Herta's and Keith Wiggins' teams are best poised to take over the official role previously held by KV Racing Technology. KV is switching to Chevrolet next season.
"We are talking to teams at a good level, and I can confirm that we have had close discussions with Herta, HVM and Dreyer & Reinbold," said Claudio Berro, director of Lotus Motorsport. "There are two types of deal on offer. One is a lease contract and one is a support deal, a commercial agreement, which would mean a team racing its car in green and yellow. I think we can have that."
Berro would not confirm which teams were in the running for what are believed to be two available factory deals, and insisted that no contracts have yet been signed. However, he told AUTOSPORT he expects to travel to the U.S. shortly to firm up arrangements.
HVM, which fields driver Simona de Silvestro, is believed to be closest to a factory deal. Its mechanics reportedly have been building up a Dallara DW12 around a mock-up of the Lotus V6 at the Italian constructor's headquarters.
Berro admitted disappointment at KV's decision to end its association with Lotus in favor of a Chevy supply deal. He says the team, which enjoyed technical support for its Honda-engined Dallaras in 2010-'11, had a contract with Lotus that extended into 2012.
The Lotus V6, which is currently undergoing dyno testing at Judd's Engine Developments headquarters in the UK, is expected to make its track debut later this month. Berro said reports that it is a lightweight design are accurate.
"It is true; our engine is very small and light," he said. I don't know about our competitors, but I hear the Honda is a bit heavier."