Indy Lights – Freedom 100 Qualifying and the New 2015 Chassis

Media Day is a pretty dead day at the Speedway from a fan attendance standpoint. There were some people there, but not many. For that matter, there weren’t many media folk there either! It’s unfortunate, because the Indy Lights drivers had a great practice and a fun and exciting qualifying session. In addition to the three hours of practice and the qualification session, the new 2015 Indy Lights chassis, the Dallara Automobili IL-15 was unveiled. It was a great day of preparation for today’s Freedom 100. Press releases are below as well as my gallery of photos from Thursday.

Pos No Name Lap 1 Lap 2 Total Avg Speed
1 7 Razia, Luiz 47.8749 48.0178 01:35.9 187.710
2 42 Harvey, Jack 48.1371 48.3397 01:36.5 186.573
3 83 Brabham, Matthew 48.2111 48.3433 01:36.6 186.423
4 26 Veach, Zach 48.2458 48.3938 01:36.6 186.259
5 5 Chaves, Gabby 48.2593 48.4440 01:36.7 186.136
6 10 Garcia, Juan Pablo 48.3785 48.6122 01:37.0 185.585
7 0 Austin, Chase 48.8230 48.9711 01:37.8 184.060
8 77 Piedrahita, Juan 48.8720 49.0121 01:37.9 183.891
9 4 Baron, Alex 49.0740 49.1649 01:38.2 183.227
10 24 Anderson, Scott 49.1114 49.2491 01:38.4 183.000
11 2 Meyer, Zack 49.1741 49.3495 01:38.5 182.697

Indy Lights Qualifications

Razia Takes First Pole for Freedom 100 at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway

Speedway, Ind. – Brazilian Luiz Razia is building a strong affinity for the Indianapolis Motor Speedway. Two weeks after claiming the first pole and race win of his Indy Lights Presented by Cooper Tires career on the 2.439-mile road course, the veteran of GP2 Series competition in Europe returned to the fabled Brickyard – this time for his first experience on the 2.5-mile oval – and once again found himself on the top of the timing charts to win the Sunoco Pole Award for tomorrow’s Freedom 100.

Razia, from Sao Paulo, Brazil, driving the #7 Lucas Oil c/w Curb-Agajanian entry, turned a two-lap average speed of 187.710 mph to claim one championship point and move to within just four points of series leader Zach Veach.

The Schmidt Peterson Motorsports with Curb-Agajanian team had been uncharacteristically quiet during the early stages of this season, but now seems to have rediscovered the form which has enabled it to win the last four Indy Lights championships in succession. Englishman Jack Harvey, who chased teammate Razia home to the checkered flag a couple of weeks ago, played second fiddle again this afternoon and will start alongside on the front row with an average speed of 186.573 mph in the #42 Racing Steps Foundation car.

Harvey and Razia also were the two fastest contenders in this morning’s practice session, with Harvey fastest of all at 188.269 mph and Razia right behind at 188.233 mph.

Speeds, as expected, were slower this afternoon, with cars running one at a time for qualifying and therefore unable to take assistance of the considerable draft that ensues from circulating in nose-to-tail formation.

Third-generation racer Matthew Brabham, who, in common with Razia, claimed his maiden Indy Lights victory during the recent road course double-header, was third fastest at 186.423 mph, followed by Andretti Autosport teammate and series leader Veach (186.259 mph).

Colombian-American Gabby Chaves qualified fifth for Belardi Auto Racing, which the won last Freedom 100 in a blanket four-abreast finish with Peter Dempsey leading the way. Teammate Chase Austin, from Eudora, Kan., making his first start of the year in the #0 UNAIDS/Starting Grid car, will start seventh behind Mexican Juan Pablo Garcia (Schmidt Peterson).

The Freedom 100, Round Seven of the Indy Lights Presented by Cooper Tires title-chase, will start at 12:30 p.m. EDT tomorrow, immediately following final practice for Sunday’s 98th Indianapolis 500 as part of the Carb Day activities. The 40-lap, 100-mile race will be broadcast live on the NBC Sports Network and the IndyCar Radio Network. Live timing and scoring also will be available at www.indylights.com.

Luiz Razia, #7 Lucas Oil with Curb-Agajanian (Schmidt Peterson Motorsports with Curb-Agajanian): “This morning in practice, my engineer said to me, ‘You’ll go out, then pit and we’ll strip your tires, put new ones on, then you’ll do a qualifying run. So you’ll go out and go flat for three laps.’ I told him, it’s been three weeks since we tested here, you want me to go out and go flat straightway? He said, ‘Yes, trust me.’ So I did it. The car was behaving really well in those conditions and we were fast. We saw some stuff in the telemetry that I could improve on, like shifts and steering, so I tried to do basically the same thing I did this morning. The car was really good from scratch. It’s good to be on the pole, especially at a place like this and especially since ovals are a new discipline for me. Tomorrow is big – I’ve watched the past five years of races here, so I know I just need to get a good car in traffic and see if I can play for the last five laps.”

Jack Harvey, #42 Racing Steps Foundation c/w Curb-Agajanian (Schmidt Peterson Motorsports with Curb-Agajanian): “Everyone in the whole world knows about the Indianapolis Motor Speedway so it’s pretty special to be racing here. I was a little bit down (on Razia’s pace) but our focus has always been the race so I’m pretty happy with the speed we did.”

The New IL-15

State-of-the-Art Dallara IL-15 Sets the Tone for the Future of Indy Lights

Indianapolis, Ind. (May 22, 2014) – 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.”