I usually cut that stuff right out and as Jar said I believe it's directly hooked up to the motor power.
Yes you can hook up your IR there, but it'd be good practice to take a 1/4" drill bit, drill out the entire hole and glue your 9-10mm tube there, thus allowing you to use something like hot glue to fix the bulb from the inside. That way you're within the rules for shot spread (It's not a shotgun) and is really easy to do maintenance on.. and paint!
Tiger I - Panzer III - Panzer IV - Chi Nu Kai - Panther G - KV-1b 756(r)
M4A3(76) Sherman - T-34/85 - M3 Grant