Dallara (of course) wins Indy Lights contract
Following a lengthy review process, Andersen Promotions today announced that Dallara Automobili has been selected to design and develop the next generation Indy Lights Presented by Cooper Tires chassis which will compete in 2015 - the Dallara IL-15. Dallara, manufacturer of the present spec Indy Lights chassis which debuted in 2002 and current DW12 Indy car, exceeded expectations to a committee led by Tony Cotman, President and Founder of NZR Consulting and the former Vice President of Competition at INDYCAR, in final proposals submitted by three manufacturers.
Dan Andersen, Owner and CEO of Andersen Promotions and a former Indy Lights team owner, placed heavy emphasis on team budgets, with the cost of the new car and spares at the forefront in the final decision-making process. Andersen's goal was to present a new car that is contemporary in design and technically advanced, able to reach 200 miles per hour, meet safety and reliability requirements and present the most desirable up-front terms for both established and new team owners.
"After a lengthy bidding process and three strong proposals from the finalists, we are delighted to confirm Dallara as our chassis partner for the foreseeable future. The new Dallara IL-15 Indy Lights race car will offer great style, current technologies and of course Dallara's well-earned reputation for building safe, reliable race cars. We are pleased with the final pricing structure and the various discounts provided by Dallara, and believe our teams and drivers will get excellent value and a terrific race car."
Dallara's proposal addressed a myriad of concerns in addition to producing a chassis that will provide drivers on the final step of the Mazda Road to Indy ladder with a car in line with the high-tech machines raced at the pinnacle of the sport. Key points include a reduction in the pricing of a new chassis for teams competing in 2014 and all teams placing orders by March 15 of next year.
In addition to the best pricing on spares of all bids submitted, Dallara will offer a once-a-year "January Sale" whereby teams wishing to stock up on spares will receive even lower pricing. The manufacturer also provided the best finance/lease deal for teams electing this option, offering to spread costs over a three-year period to defer initial ownership expenditures.
"Dallara is a proven chassis manufacturer with an equally impressive winning record," noted Cotman. "They dominate the world market for many reasons, particularly with a strong record in safety and reliability.
"I fully support Dan's decision and look forward to moving ahead with the next phases of the project, particularly details surrounding a new engine. As Indy Lights continues to evolve under the guidance of Andersen Promotions, I'm sure this is the first of many exciting announcements over the coming weeks."
The IL-15 chassis will be developed and manufactured at Dallara's state-of-the-art facility in Speedway, Ind. Prototype testing will commence in August with a yet to be announced current IndyCar Series driver. Full renderings of the new chassis will be available in the coming weeks.
In addition to its strong partnership commitment to Indy Lights on the manufacturing side, Dallara will provide a $25,000 award to the Indy Lights champion.
"We are honored for the deal that we have signed with Andersen Promotions for the supply of new Indy Lights cars in 2015," said Gian Paolo Dallara, President of Dallara Automobili. "Based on our worldwide experience with single-seater race cars and with IndyCar in particular, we are confident and committed to providing the Indy Lights drivers with a safe race car as the appropriate training foundation for their future IndyCar competition. Following the same strategy which we have set in place for the Indy car, a great part of the components of the Indy Lights cars will be manufactured in Indiana by Dallara LLC and by many local suppliers.
"We commit to supporting Dan Andersen and his organization in reaffirming the validity of the Indy Lights concept. Dan has shown great passion and excellent competence in creating a strong ladder system heading to the IndyCar Series, and Indy Lights is the perfect complement."
Following the announcement in July that Andersen Promotions would license and operate the Indy Lights Series, the company has wasted no time in working to secure a positive future for the series that has been an integral step in the careers of over 100 graduates to date including 2013 IndyCar Series champion Scott Dixon.
Andersen Promotions has secured Cooper Tires as the Official Tire and substantial promotional partner of the series through 2018; unveiled a new, dedicated website at IndyLights.com, Twitter feed @IndyLights and new series logo; introduced a 14-event schedule for 2014 featuring Sunday races as opposed to the former Saturday slates - now preceding the IndyCar Series main events - as well as doubleheader races at all road course events; launched an advertising campaign in Europe to target prospective drivers; and will soon announce a new engine partner.
"Our goal is to rebuild, rebrand and re-buzz Indy Lights," added Andersen. "The series has been stagnant for a while. So far, I think we are on the right track. I remember the old days in Indy Lights with large fields of outstanding drivers working their way to the top. While we want to bring back those days, we also want to move into the future and provide upcoming stars like (2013 Pro Mazda champion) Matthew Brabham and (2013 USF2000 champion) Scott Hargrove the series they need to propel them into the next phase of their careers.
"We have a temporary but goal-reaching plan in place for next season with an updated car, and I am thrilled with what we will be able to offer drivers in 2015."