Mazda to badge new Indy Lights engine (Update)

UPDATE This rumor is upgraded to 'fact' with today's announcement.

12/10/14 Mazda will be the manufacturer that badges Indy Lights engines in 2015. The news will be confirmed Thursday at the Performance Racing Industry Trade Show in Indianapolis, Autoweek reports. The deal is part of Indy Lights getting a much-needed equipment package for the 2015 season. Not to mention, it always figured that the Mazda Road to Indy program would be powered at its highest level by Mazda engines, and that’s now going to be the case.

The series' new engine, built by AER, is a 2.0-liter, turbocharged four-cylinder unit projected to produce 450 horsepower. Series owner Dan Andersen said about a half-dozen of the engines have been delivered to teams so far, and there’s an opportunity to test next week at Florida's Palm Beach International Raceway. A full-series open test is set for next month at the same track.

The chassis, known as the Dallara IL-15, has been tested by IndyCar veterans Scott Dixon, James Hinchcliffe and Josef Newgarden to rave reviews. It also appears that Andersen's projection of 16-20 cars on the grid for the season-opening event in St. Petersburg, Fla., is realistic. The team list already includes Andretti, Schmidt Peterson, Conquest, Belardi, Juncos, Dragon, Fan Force United, Herta, McCormack, Moore and Carlin.

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