SBD/April 24, 2012/Marketing and Sponsorship

Lotus Releases IndyCar's Bryan Herta Autosport, Dreyer & Reinbold From Contracts

Struggling engine manufacturer Lotus today “released Bryan Herta Autosport and Dreyer & Reinbold Racing" from their IndyCar engine contracts, according to Jenna Fryer of the AP. The release “clears the two teams to cut new deals with powerhouse manufacturers Chevrolet and Honda, and leaves Lotus with just three cars spanning two teams.” Letting BHA and DRR go “probably helps Lotus, which has not been able to build enough engines and lags far behind the other manufacturers in horsepower.” A reduced workload “could give Lotus a chance to catch up.” Fryer notes Lotus was “a late entrant into IndyCar, and has been unable to catch up to the competition.” With BHA and DRR moving on, Lotus will field engines for Dragon Racing's Sebastien Bourdais and Katherine Legge and HVM Racing's Simona de Silvestro (AP, 4/24). SPEEDTV.com’s Marshall Pruett noted the “three-party split, made with the support and sanctioning of IndyCar, will see BHA and DRR receive assistance from the series to find new, season-long engine leases.” However, the in-season change of engine manufacturers, which “should allow BHA's Alex Tagliani and DRR's Oriol Servia to be far more competitive, still leaves more questions than answers on how all sides of the fracas will now move forward” (SPEEDTV.com, 4/24). In Indianapolis, Curt Cavin notes team officials “declined comment, but it's expected Dreyer & Reinbold will sign with Chevrolet and BHA with Honda in preparation for next month's Indianapolis 500.” IndyCar will “allow Lotus to focus on its smaller lineup this year before requiring growth for 2013, although details are still being finalized” (INDIANAPOLIS STAR, 4/24).
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