Jean Alesi to race in 2012 Indianapolis 500


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Alesi driving the Lotus T125 earlier this year

Former F1 driver Jean Alesi has confirmed he will race in the Indianapolis 500 next year.

Alesi, who is a brand ambassador for Group Lotus, will drive a car powered by Lotus’s IndyCar engine which will participate in the series next year.

The veteran of 201 Grand Prix starts from 1989 to 2001 said: “I’m thrilled that Lotus has given me the opportunity to compete in such a world famous race.

“It’s going to be a very special experience for me but I also know that I have a lot of hard work ahead.

“I’m very focused on the task I’m facing – I’m taking my training very seriously, I have some amazing support on this front from a ‘comeback’ expert and of course I will be testing extensively. I’m really excited about the race.”

Image © Group Lotus

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Keith Collantine
Lifelong motor sport fan Keith set up RaceFans in 2005 - when it was originally called F1 Fanatic. Having previously worked as a motoring...

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29 comments on “Jean Alesi to race in 2012 Indianapolis 500”

  1. A reason to watch Indy 500 next year :D

  2. My epic meter just broke.

  3. *Checks its not April the 1st*

    1. At first I thought he was driving in F1 next year!

  4. Should be possible, Luyendijk raced in those cars at the same age.
    The difference is of course that Alesi will be a Rookie!

  5. Oh… that was unexpected !
    Good luck Jean !

  6. A post about Jean Alesi racing in America without a YouTube link to the 1990 Detroit race?

  7. what 1990 detroit race?

      1. Phoenix race in Detroit?

  8. Mais oui!!!

    2012 is also the COT Dallara chasis.
    Will be watching Jean’s progress closely!

    Vai Jean, vai…

  9. Call me a cynic, but I’m hearing dark rumours that Indycar’s ICONIC project is in serious danger because Lotus have made no headway into presenting their promised engine/aero kits. They talked it up when ICONIC was announced, and it’s been radio silence ever since. To complicate the problem, the Powers That Be at Indycar HQ haven’t been able to generate any interest from other suppliers. The original plan was to try and get the likes of Lockheed-Martin and Boeing in on the plan, but so far they’ve only got Lotus, Chevrolet and Honda. Part of this might by hyperbole, but it seems a lot is hinging on Lotus getting their act together, because if they don’t, ICONIC might be in trouble.

    So I find it no coincidence that Jean Alesi, a Lotus “ambassador” is going to drive at Indianapolis …

    1. As for the aerokits, didn’t the team bosses agree already that they would just use the Dallara out of the box bodywork in 2012 and go with development of them only from 2013 onwards to save cost?

      Agree on the dodgy position for the engines, if their current partner goes with Chevvy or Honda, that would not look good on them. If they even bring the engine to life at all.

      1. Judd have reportedly built the engine but Lotus hasn’t paid em for it so we’ll see what happens…

      2. As for the aerokits, didn’t the team bosses agree already that they would just use the Dallara out of the box bodywork in 2012 and go with development of them only from 2013 onwards to save cost?

        I don’t know. I don’t get too much coverage of IndyCar – usually just enough on the eveneing news to report Will Power’s performances.

        But if the mix ‘n’ match aero kits will be a year behind the engines, then that just makes the engine situation critical. But I have heard that money from Lotus Cars will start flowing into Renault next year, so maybe they’ll have some left over to develop/pay someone to develop their engines.

        1. You don’t need much coverage PM. Your frankly unsurpassed wealth of knowledge about everything, will easily see you through..

      3. I also read that about the aerokits, maybe with, or perhaps racecar-engineering when the new kit was presented recently?

        I can certainly see why Lotus would want to use Alesi to get some positive press about their efforts there, especially if what Mikemat5150 says about them not yet having paid Judd for the engines is true. And their conduct in F1 doesn’t exactly disprove that.

    2. ICONiC is doing fine, the aerokits were postponed buy mutual decision between INDYCAR and the owners on financial grounds and the fact that the schedule was optimistic at best. Dallara is scheduled to open the Indianapolis office/factory later than expected due to economics, making even their delivery dates of next years chassis to confirmed teams somewhat questionable. Safety also comes into question, aerokits can not be introduced untested. So the kits were postponed.
      The engine situation is a question of the almighty green, no manufacturer has a off-the-shelves block to which indycar-spec parts can be bolted on to and go race successfully. Development costs need to be distributed, and the more teams they have, the less the cost.

  10. Yeah…I should probably try a little harder with Indy Car next season.

  11. I don’t get it…at all. The first question I have is why?? What is the point?? This can only be a “PR” stunt as the challenge of success at INDY is such a rare thing even for those who are regulars in this class. Certainly money is at the heart of this matter and besides Alesi is an oldman and at best a very average Grand Prix racer. For him to think he will be competitive even if he does 500 pushups a day is really off the mark. Like I said I don’t get it but sort of wish him success never the less.

    1. very average Grand Prix racer.

      If you only consider his last few years.

      1. Mike, Alesi was as good a driver in his last F1 years, even if the cars he had driven were crap. Consider this: in 1998 he scored Sauber’s first eve podium(Spa) and first ever front row start(Austria) destroying Herbert 14-2 in qualifying in the process. He had another front row in France in 1999 for Sauber and even more impressively 5th in Spain on a completely dry track, no changeable weather, and with a car that was good enough only for 13-14 place at best. In Brazil 1999 he overtook 15 cars, on track, only for another technical failure to strike him.
        In 2000 he qualified the joint worst car on the grid in 7th at Monaco, and in that same car he had run as high as 4th in Spa. In 2001 he scored points with a car that no other driver who drove it was even remotely close to score points with(Prost). And just to prove that the technical troubles of previous seasons were not because of him, he finished every race in 2001, until being wiped out by Raikkonen in his last ever GP at Suzuka.
        To conclude:average driver my ****!

    2. “at best a very average Grand Prix racer”. I’m sorry but what planet are you from? He’s only the guy still revered by the tifosi 16 years after he left Ferrari, among other things. He may not have the great stats page of some other drivers but to say what you said is being completely ignorant. Chris Amon, the other great Ferrari driver, never even won a grand prix unfortunately, so? He did some of the most unbelievable things on the track, and very important to note that he always excelled on low downforce tracks.

  12. I was sceptic on reading the heading, but I read more about what Alesi said from Adam Cooper, and he seems to have a pretty good minset about it:

    “Why not? And I said let me check how it is, and I checked carefully. It’s not something I do because I want absolutely to race, but I want really to be able to be competitive, I don’t want to look ridiculous because I have not only my fans, I have family, I have kids, and they will give me a lot of **** if I am not doing well.

    “I started already to go on the simulator, I started to do more mileage with the T125, and here we are.”

    Which is exactly right, I think.

    He also explains that the working with that Lotus F1-lookalike made him long for a bit more single-seater stuff, but he then didn’t really know what and how. Of course Lotus wanted him in the Indy 500. He sort of indicates he knows he isn’t a Schumacher to be able to get back in F1, but he also is honest about DTM and playing at GT.

    From that piece, he regained some respect he lost from me in towing the Lotus line about the F1 teams.

    1. Every driver who attempts to race at INDY has the mindset to do it…and 32 of them don’t get the job done. Talk is cheap and no matter what he says, he has never driven anything that has such sustained high speeds. Nothing can prepare you for what the body is subjected to at INDY. I admire his attitude but at the same time find myself thinking “who are you kidding”. Nelson Piquet tried Indy and the slightest mistake ended his career. Sometimes it is best to just stay retired.

        1. something happened to the link. here it is anyway just copy paste if doesnt show as link

      1. I don’t think he has to win to not be laughed at, if he can drive in the top 10, or close to it, he will have shown he is still fast and talented.

  13. a real GrandPa driver

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