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British chassis makers prepare for IRL

British racing car manufacturers Lola and Reynard are set to build chassis for the US-based Indy Racing League championship for as early as 2003, according to this week's Autosport

The companies currently provide the only two chassis for the Champ Cars, but both are thought to be developing cars that conform to the IRL's new chassis rules that come into force in 18 months' time.

The move will come as a blow to Champ Cars which is coming under increasing opposition from its oval-based rival the IRL.

Lola has admitted that work is ongoing on an IRL car that is expected to be ready towards the end of next year. While there has been no confirmation from Reynard, the Brackley-based firm is also thought to be well advanced in its development of an IRL chassis.

"Lola intend to make an IRL car in 2003," said Lola Cars International managing director David Bowes. "A lot of Champ Car teams are thinking of entering the Indianapolis 500 [IRL's showpiece event] and they would love to race in Lolas.

"We have to look at whatever markets are available to us. There has been talk, however speculative, of standardising the rules between the two series. We want to be well placed if that happens in the future."

Reynard has been expected to enter the IRL ever since the company sold Indianapolis-based manufacturer Riley & Scott last year, but retained the IRL chassis-producing section of the company.

Both new chassis are expected to be running by August or September next year, but completion will likely depend on when the new IRL gearbox, which is a standardised unit, is available.

Reynard and Lola will join the IRL's current chassis providers Italian firm Dallara and British-based G-Force.

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