Indy Lights racing is to IndyCar what AAA is to major league baseball – the last step on the ladder to the top. The series is all about developing racing drivers, and so it uses spec chassis and spec engines. Since all the cars are virtually identical, a driver’s true talent level can be accurately assessed.
The Indy Lights chassis has been pretty much the same since 2002. That’s a long time in racing. But the series will have a new, updated chassis in 2015, built by Dallara at its facility adjacent to the Indianapolis Motor Speedway. Dallara has a long history of building cars for many racing series, including Formula One – and there are rumors circulating that Gene Haas’ nascent F1 team may use a Dallara chassis.
The new cars, designated Dallara IL-15, will all be powered by a 2.0 liter 4 cylinder turbocharged engine making 450 horsepower and supplied by Advanced Engine Research (AER). These engines are designed to last an entire season of practice, qualifying and racing before needing a major rebuild. Like its big brother, the Indy Lights series allows a “push to pass” feature that adds another 50 horsepower. Drivers can use that feature up to 10 times per race. Cooper Tire is now a major sponsor and will provide the tires for all the cars.
The Indy Lights series is run by Anderson Promotions. At the unveiling ceremony for the car, the owner and CEO of Anderson Promotions had this to say:
This is an important day in the tremendous history of Indy Lights. Choosing Dallara as our chassis partner for the new Indy Lights car has turned out to be a great decision. They have crafted a state-of-the-art race car with the latest technology and safety enhancements which will provide the necessary training as we develop the next crop of IndyCar Series drivers.
As an added incentive to the drivers in training, the 2015 champion will be allowed to compete in 3 IndyCar races, including the Greatest Spectacle in Racing: the Indy 500. That’s a pretty powerful inducement to do well!