Yesterday, INDYCAR released word that the manufacturer for the 2015 Indy Lights Chassis would be none other than Dallara. Surprise! …or not. As regular listeners to our podcast know, we’ve been expecting as much since the announcement that there would be a new Indy Lights chassis. The series solicited bids in 2012 when it was expected that a new chassis would roll out in 2014. Proposals were made by many of the same companies that had gone through the bid process for the new IndyCar chassis including Swift and Lola. There were also some new names such as Mygale, a company well known for it’s junior formula chassis in Europe. They then announced that none of the bids were going to be accepted as the new chassis was to be delayed until at least 2015.
After Dan Andersen’s assumption of the operations of the Indy Lights series was officially announced in Toronto, speculation began anew about what direction the new chassis would take. A big concern of many was if the parameters for the new chassis changed too much from the previous direction, would completely new proposals be needed from the interested manufacturers, and if so, how many manufacturers would remain interested in the project? This is a concern we raised with Jason Penix in our most recent episode of Inside The Helmet. The belief was that although there would be some changes in what the series wanted in the next-generation chassis, the changes would not be substantial enough to require going back to the drawing board, figuratively or literally.
In the end, the decision was made to go with INDYCAR’s long-time partner Dallara. There will be many who view this as having been a foregone conclusion and that the decision was a result of a “good-ole-boy” network of politics and kickbacks. I would remind those that Mr. Andersen is now in charge of running Indy Lights, and that regardless of how one feels about Dallara they do indeed make very good, reliable, and safe junior formula chassis including the current Indy Lights chassis. So long as the cost structure continues to make sense, the car is attractive to competitors and spectators alike, and the chassis provides a good training platform for young drivers looking to move up to the IndyCar Series, then I’m perfectly fine with this decision.
…now on to the engines!
Official Release from INDYCAR
Dallara Automobili has been selected to develop and manufacture the next generation chassis for Indy Lights Presented by Cooper Tires.
The chassis will make its debut for the 2015 season, with an updated current Dallara car being used for the 14-race 2014 season.
Dallara, manufacturer of the current IndyCar Series chassis, exceeded expectations in its presentation and commitment, according to Dan Andersen, owner and CEO of Andersen Promotions that holds the license to operate the series.
Andersen, a former Indy Lights team owner, placed emphasis on the cost of the new car and spares. The goal was to present a car that is contemporary in design and technically advanced, able to reach 200 mph, and meet safety and reliability requirements. Key points of the deal include a reduction in the pricing of a new chassis for teams competing in 2014 and all teams placing orders by March 15. Additionally, Dallara will offer an annual “January Sale” during which teams stocking up on spares will receive even lower pricing.
The manufacturer also is offering to spread costs over a three-year period to defer initial ownership expenditures.
“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,” Andersen said. “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 also will provide a $25,000 award to the Indy Lights champion.
“Dallara is a proven chassis manufacturer with an equally impressive winning record,” said Tony Cotman, president of NZR Consulting who was head of the committee to select a chassis manufacturer. “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 chassis will be developed and manufactured at Dallara’s facility in Speedway, Ind. Prototype testing will commence in August. Renderings of the new chassis will be available in the coming weeks.
“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,” said Gian Paolo Dallara, founder of Dallara Automobili. “Following the same strategy which we have set in place for the IndyCar, a great part of the components of the Indy Lights cars will be manufactured in Indiana by Dallara and by many local suppliers.
“We commit to supporting Dan Andersen and his organization in reaffirming the validity of the Indy Lights concept.”