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Colin Chapman has been gone for nearly 30 years, and the business is now under Malaysian ownership (Proton). But the Lotus Cars of today produces some fascinating stuff, led by the Evora and the 2-Eleven. Lotus is making moves to recoup its racing history, too. A reconstituted Team Lotus has joined Formula 1. Lotus and another venerable name, Cosworth, are likewise taking part in the 2010 IZOD IndyCar series.
In the case of IndyCar, which uses spec Dallara chassis, Honda V-8 engines and Firestone tires, Lotus’s involvement in IndyCar is largely symbolic, termed a “technical and commercial partnership” with KV racing technology. The team is owned by businessman Kevin Kalkhoven, who helped broker the IRL-CART truce, and former CART champion Jimmy Vasser. It’s worth remembering, as the Indianapolis Motor Speedway archival photo does, that Lotus forced the most seismic upheaval in American open-wheel history when Chapman brought his Ford-powered Lotus brigade to the Brickyard during the 1960s. The immortal Jim Clark’s 1965 win, the first for a rear-engine car, was one of the most transformative events in all of motorsports.