Fans finally got their first chance to see the new Dallara IL-15 chassis that will be introduced for the 2015 Indy Lights Presented by Cooper Tires championship, when it was unveiled at a special ceremony at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway on Friday.
The car is built to the very latest FIA and IndyCar safety standards and boasts a state-of-the-art carbon composite chassis. It will be powered by a 2.0-litre turbocharged AER engine producing 450 horsepower and capable of reaching speeds of 200mph. Additional features include a six-speed, paddle-shift transmission, a 50 horsepower, "push-to-pass" feature, "drive-by-wire" throttle control and advanced engine management electronics.
"This is an important day in the tremendous history of Indy Lights," said Dan Andersen, owner and CEO of Andersen Promotions which oversees all aspects of the Mazda Road to Indy programme. "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," he continued. "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."
Also present at the unveiling were Mark Miles, the CEO of IndyCar's parent company Hulman & Co; Gian Paolo Dallara, president of Dallara Automobili President, Andrea Pontremoli, general manager and CEO of Dallara; and Tony Cotman, former IndyCar vice-president of competition who has been responsible for the entire bid and design process of the new chassis.
"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."
The new cars will be assembled at Dallara's US facility located just a few minutes' walk from the Indianapolis Motor Speedway in Speedway, Ind.
"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," said Pontremoli. "As a whole team we are confident that we have ended up with an attractive, safe, fast and reliable piece of engineering."
The IL-15 will now undergo a rigorous test and development program in preparation for the 2015 season. An initial shakedown 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 in the US soil on August 5 at 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, as will a couple of current Verizon IndyCar Series regulars.