|New Dallara Indy Lights car|
The distinctive and innovative Dallara IL-15 chassis, which will form the backbone of the rejuvenated Indy Lights Presented by Cooper Tires, was unveiled today at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway. Dan Andersen, Owner and CEO of Andersen Promotions which oversees all aspects of the highly acclaimed Mazda Road to Indy, was joined for the special ceremony in front of the distinctive IMS Pagoda by Hulman & Company CEO Mark Miles, Dallara Automobili President Gian Paolo Dallara, Dallara CEO and General Manager Andrea Pontremoli and NZR Consulting President/Founder and former Vice-President of Competition at INDYCAR Tony Cotman, who has been responsible for the entire bid and design process of the technologically advanced car which will now undergo a rigorous test and development program in preparation for the 2015 season.
"This is an important day in the tremendous history of Indy Lights," said Andersen, whose lengthy involvement in the sport has included spells as a team owner as well as being one of the founders of USF2000 in 1990. "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 Verizon IndyCar Series drivers.
"It is clear to me that they can build both beauty and quality into their cars while keeping costs in line. Add in Cooper Tires, AER, PFC, Cosworth, Tilton and our other partners, and it has been a great experience seeing this car come together. We've ended up with a very high end 'spec' car which we believe will be enjoyable for our competitors to drive and very fast."
The Dallara IL-15 has been conceived as a collaborative effort between Dallara's headquarters in Varano de' Melegari, near Parma, Italy, and Dallara LLC, situated just a few minutes' walk from the Indianapolis Motor Speedway in Speedway, Ind., where all cars will be assembled.
It boasts a state-of-the-art carbon composite chassis, constructed to the very latest FIA and INDYCAR safety standards, and will be powered by a 2.0-liter turbocharged AER engine producing 450 HP capable of reaching speeds of 200 mph. Additional features include a six-speed, paddle-shift transmission, a 50HP "push-to-pass" feature, "drive-by-wire" throttle control and advanced engine management electronics.
"Dallara is very proud to be selected by Dan Andersen's organization as the official manufacturer of the new Indy Lights car," noted Pontremoli. "The Dallara IL-15 is the result of excellent teamwork with Andersen Promotions, its technical partners and Tony Cotman. It was a great challenge to put all of Dallara's expertise and experience into this project.
"The new Indy Lights car has all the latest safety and performance features that Dallara has acquired in various projects of race cars competing all over the world. As a whole team we are confident that we have ended up with an attractive, safe, fast and reliable piece of engineering. We want to thank Dan and his organization for the great effort he is doing to promote the series, and the opportunity for Dallara to be part of it."
As part of the commitment to assisting drivers progress all the way from the grassroots of the sport via the Mazda Road to Indy, which also comprises the Cooper Tires USF2000 Championship Powered by Mazda and the Pro Mazda Championship Presented by Cooper Tires, the 2015 Indy Lights Presented by Cooper Tires champion will be guaranteed a three-race program in the 2016 Verizon IndyCar Series, including an entry in the 100th Indianapolis 500.
"Indy Lights is a pivotal step in the Road to Indy ladder system and today's unveiling of the new Dallara chassis is a key advancement in the evolution of the series," said Miles. "INDYCAR has a long history with Dallara and the partnership is instrumental in our long-term goals of continued developments in safety, innovation and a thrilling on-track product."
An initial shakedown test of the new car will be conducted at Varano, Italy, on July 15, after which development will continue at a variety of tracks in the United States. Indianapolis native, Indy Lights race winner and current GP2 driver Conor Daly will be responsible for the first test on U.S. soil on August 5, immediately following the Indy Lights race at the Mid-Ohio Sports Car Course. Frenchman Tristan Vautier, who won the Indy Lights championship in 2012, also will be involved in finalizing the car's specification, along with a couple of current Verizon IndyCar Series regulars.
"Today marks a pivotal direction change in the resurgence of the Indy Lights series," said Cotman. "Andersen Promotions has assembled a team of partners who have a winning record in motorsports and together can re-establish Indy Lights as the premier driver development category worldwide."