Lotus LMP1 car debut delayed to second 2014 WEC round at Spa
|By Gary Watkins||Friday, April 11th 2014, 15:51 GMT|
The German Lotus squad's new T129 LMP1 World Endurance Championship challenger will miss the opening round of the series at Silverstone on April 20.
Lotus LMP, which is moving up from LMP2 for this season, has been forced to scratch its solo entry from the British event after delays completing the AER-engined T129 and is now planning to give the car its debut at round two at Spa on May 3.
Head of operations Boris Bermes explained that the delay had resulted from the team being "let down by our original engine supplier".
"We were only notified in late December that the supplier of the original engine, a naturally-aspirated V8, could not deliver on time," he said.
"We quickly made the decision to work with AER [Advanced Engine Research] with a V6 turbo and we're very happy with the current collaboration."
The switch to the new twin-turbo direct-injection V6 produced by AER forced a substantial redesign of the rear end of the car, including the monocoque, by the design team lead by former HRT, Honda and Jordan man Paul White.
The naturally-aspirated engine mentioned by Bermes is believed to be a powerplant that Neil Brown Engineering planned to developed out of the four-litre Audi DTM engine.
The first T129 tub is scheduled to complete the final stage of its mandatory FIA crash testing the week after Silverstone.
Team insiders appear confident that the car will be on the grid for round two of the WEC at Spa.
Christijan Albers is the only comfirmed driver for the Lotus LMP2 so far.
Other names in the frame include James Rossiter and Thomas Holzer, who both raced for the team in LMP2 last season, and Pierre Kaffer and Christophe Bouchut.
It is likely that Kaffer and Bouchut will join Albers at Spa and Le Mans because Rossiter and Holzer are unavailable for both races.