Indy Racing League Media Conference
Topics: Indy Racing League
November 18, 2010
THE MODERATOR: Today we are pleased to have a major announcement. We have Randy Bernard, CEO, IndyCar; Dany Bahar, Group Lotus; and racing great Parnelli Jones, winner of the 1963 Indy 500, who drove a Lotus in 1964 and 1965.
Right now please welcome Randy Bernard, CEO of IndyCar, to share today's exciting news.
RANDY BERNARD: Good afternoon. Another exciting day. I'm loving these days.
Last March one thing we learned really quick was what fans wanted: they wanted to see the spec series go away. That was the number one thing the fans said.
We were very excited to announce last week that it would no longer be a spec series with two engines and we're even more proud to announce today that there will be three engines in 2012.
I think the most exciting part for me is the fact that Lotus has never, ever ran their own engine at the Indy 500. To me, that will be another special, exciting element to this announcement today.
I'd like to thank the Iconic Advisory Commitment who helped us. Last March we gave them 75 days to articulate a strategy on the next car for 2012. It was unbelievable the amount of time and passion they put in that. We owe this 2012 season to them because it was them that made these decisions.
At this time what I'd like to do is bring up the CEO of Group Lotus, Mr. Dany Bahar.
DANY BAHAR: Thank you very much, Randy.
It's for us as well a very exciting day. I guess it's a very exciting year with the relaunch of our brand introducing the two-product lineup for the next five years. It's been quite a busy time, and probably we are having busy times ahead of us.
What we tried to do with the Lotus brand is to pay our heritage and our past justice. I believe our heritage is all about motor racing. As you could see, this is all about motor racing. We believe that our road car should have a significant connection with the motorsports, motor racing program. That's why we have also announced recently we will be going and racing in LeMans, GT2, GT4 car racing, obviously IndyCar, and maybe some more to come.
So easy to understand that the main supporting activity for Lotus sports cars will be, was always, motor racing. Therefore, I'm really particularly proud to be here today and to say that we take racing seriously, and we don't just want to put a sticker on a car that we did not have an influence to build. We want to really fight and compete with the big guys.
But we have a Lotus way to do things. We always try to understand what we are getting into. That's why we started this year with a very small activity with Takuma Sato with one car to understand IndyCar racing and to see whether there was an opportunity for us to become a real contender. We made the brave decision, yes, this is where we want to be.
We believe in the series. We believe the series is developing very, very well. I think it fits perfectly very well our activities and strategies in the U.S., which is our biggest market.
We took the decision, as I said, to build our own engine. Not only that, but building obviously our own engine, we are going to be the underdog. We are going to fight Chevy and Honda. But that's fine, it's all about competition. Not only that, but by 2012, we will be designing our own chassis and aero kit.
We want to compete. We would like to design our own cars and hopefully maybe other teams can profit from our design capabilities. That's why we start already from today investing money and also capacities in developing the right aero kit and engine for 2012.
Let me tell you that although we did not have a lot of success this year, it was a very interesting season for us to understand. Another decision we made regarding IndyCar is that we will be expanding our presence in IndyCar with our partner, KB Technology, and it will be a presence that you will probably see three or maybe even more cars on the grid.
Again, I would like to thank Randy for the opportunity that he and obviously the IndyCar organization have given us to be part of this, to be a competitor of this, because that's the only way you can show that you are a competitor, by doing your own things. I hope we will succeed and I hope we will fulfill the expectations.
Thank you very much.
RANDY BERNARD: The next person I'd like to introduce has become a hero of mine in the last nine months. He's a legend in our sport. 1963, he won the Indy 500. 1964 and '65 he ran a Lotus. A lot of people remember that Jim Clark won in '65. A lot of people didn't realize Parnelli Jones won second in a Lotus. Lotus won first and second in 1965.
At this time I'd like to bring up Mr. Parnelli Jones.
PARNELLI JONES: Thank you. It's really great to see that Lotus is coming back into the sport, into IRL, in Indianapolis because certainly obviously we've been absent from that for a long time with having different competitors. We need something like this to make Indianapolis and IRL proud.
I think Lotus is playing a great part in this. Like Randy said, I was fortunate to win three or four races in the Lotus and finish second the year Jim Clark won. I had my great relationship with Lotus at that time. Of course, they were powered by a Ford engine.
It's nice to see them coming back with an engine and chassis package that will be competitive with Chevrolet and, of course, Honda.
THE MODERATOR: I want to thank everyone for taking the time to come out today. A very exciting announcement for IndyCar and Lotus.
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