Lotus to run former F1 star Jean Alesi in 2012 Indy 500

Among the smarter moves made by the nü-wave crew at Lotus has been hiring former Formula 1 star Jean Alesi as a brand ambassador/Jeremy Clarkson ballhandler. Today, Lotus announced it was giving Alesi another job: Running the Indianapolis 500.

Alesi, who still races in LeMans and German DTM cars following a 12-year F1 stint, will be making his oval-track debut with Lotus' new 2.2-liter turbo V6, one of a few new engines meant to inject some semblance of a pulse into IndyCar racing. In F1, Alesi was famed for outracing Ayrton Senna in Phoenix in 1990 — and turning that promise into one win, many podiums and a record harvest of rotten luck. With Mario Andretti no longer running, Alesi perfectly fits Indy's historic slot for a star-crossed European racer.