The all-new Lotus T129 may not be ready in time for this month’s official FIA World Endurance Championship test at Paul Ricard, it has been revealed.
Sportscar365 has learned that the all-new Kodewa-built prototype, which has been entered in the LMP1-L category, has faced delays due to a late engine switch.
A team spokesperson said they made the decision to change from an Audi DTM-based 4.0-liter V8 powerplant to AER’s new V6 biturbo in December, which has cost time with the engine installation.
Despite previous reports of the T129 being an evolution of the Lotus T128 LMP2 car, the spokesperson said that an all-new tub had to be created, as the LMP2 tub was not built to 2014 LMP1 regulations as originally believed.
It’s resulted in the design and construction of a completely new car, with the first tub nearing completion at its workshop in Germany.
While the team hopes to be on track for the March 28-29 test, which is mandatory for at least one car per team, Kodewa has sent a request to the FIA for an exception due to their unforeseen delay.
It’s also understood that Kodewa is currently in court again with ADESS AG CEO Stephane Chosse. Chosse issued a court order to seize some of Kodewa’s assets at Le Mans last year, but lost the case.
Christijan Albers is the only announced driver for the Lotus T129 so far, although it’s believed that both James Rossiter and Vitantonio Liuzzi, who drove for the team’s LMP2 effort last year, are in the frame for select rounds.
Rebellion Racing’s Toyota-powered Rebellion R-One, the only other car competing in the new-for-2014 LMP1-L class, is also believed to have faced delays, with the Anglo-Swiss team in a race against the clock to have the ORECA-designed prototype on the grid as well.