AER picked as Indy Lights engine supplier from 2015

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Indy Lights’ new car won’t require Fred Flintstone-type peddling to make it go.

Today the series’ new promotions group, Andersen Promotions, confirmed Advanced Engine Research Ltd (AER) as the new engine supplier for Indy Lights Presented by Cooper Tires. The contract runs through the 2019 season.

While AER is not known as a manufacturer, it has thrived as an engine builder since launching in 1997. Owned by Rob and Chris Dyson, along with managing director Mike Lancaster, AER’s biggest presence in North America has been in sports car racing. It’s been the source for several P1 and P2-spec Lolas in the American Le Mans Series, and AER-built Mazda engines won the 2011 ALMS P1 class championship with Chris Dyson and Guy Smith driving the team’s Lola coupe.

AER has single-seater experience building the current power units for the World Series by Renault and GP3 Series in Europe.

“This is an exciting opportunity for AER,” said Rob Dyson. “In addition to our successful projects in LMP1 and LMP2 prototype sportscars, the company has extensive experience in single-engine series, including a 3.5-liter V6 for the World Series (by Renault) and the current GP3 Series V6 engines. The opportunity to supply the engines for the Indy Lights series was a very attractive one for us. We look forward to powering the growth of the up and coming open-wheel drivers in North America.”

This version of the engine, the AER-P07, will produce up to 450 horsepower and an additional power-to-pass boost, like its IndyCar brethren, available for driver control. Rebuilds are expected every 6,000 miles, which would reduce the need for an in-season rebuild. The all-aluminum engine has a dry crated weight of 230 lbs. The fully stressed engine features a carbon plenum, carbon inlet runners and trumpets and a “drive-by-wire” throttle control. Advanced engine management electronics have been developed in-house by AER with full active-knock control, ignition-angle learning, advanced boost control and integrated gear-shift strategies employed for ultimate performance.

The potential, too, exists for the engine to be open to badging from interested manufacturers per a RACER report. At the moment though, this is an AER through and through.

Justin Grant prevails over Kyle Larson in the Turkey Night Grand Prix

Grant Larson Turkey Night
USACRacing.com / DB3 Inc.
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On the heels of his Hangtown 100 victory, Justin Grant worked his way from 13th in the Turkey Night Grand Prix to beat three-time event winner Kyle Larson by 1.367 seconds. The 81st annual event was run at Ventura (Calif.) Raceway for the sixth time.

“My dad used to take me to Irwindale Speedway, and we’d watch Turkey Night there every year,” Grant said in a series press release. “This is one of the races I fell in love with. I didn’t think I’d ever get a chance to run in it, never thought I’d make a show and certainly never thought I’d be able to win one.”

With its genesis in 1934 at Gilmore Stadium, a quarter-mile dirt track in Los Angeles, the race is steeped in history with winners that include AJ Foyt, Parnelli Jones, Gary Bettenhausen and Johnnie Parsons. Tony Stewart won it in 2000. Kyle Larson won his first of three Turkey Night Grands Prix in 2012. Christopher Bell earned his first of three in 2014, so Grant’s enthusiasm was well deserved.

So was the skepticism that he would win. He failed to crack the top five in three previous attempts, although he came close last year with a sixth-place result. When he lined up for the feature 13th in the crowded 28-car field, winning seemed like a longshot.

Grant watched as serious challengers fell by the wayside. Mitchel Moles flipped on Lap 10 of the feature. Michael “Buddy” Kofoid took a tumble on Lap 68 and World of Outlaws Sprint car driver Carson Macedo flipped on Lap 79. Grant saw the carnage ahead of him and held a steady wheel as he passed Tanner Thorson for the lead with 15 laps remaining and stayed out of trouble for the remainder of the event.

“It’s a dream come true to win the Turkey Night Grand Prix,” Grant said.


Kyle Larson follows Justin Grant to the front on Turkey Night

The 2012, 2016 and 2019 winner, Larson was not scheduled to run the event. His wife Katelyn is expecting their third child shortly, but after a couple of glasses of wine with Thanksgiving dinner and while watching some replays of the event, Larson texted car owner Chad Boat to see if he had a spare car lying around. He did.

“We weren’t great but just hung around and it seemed like anybody who got to the lead crashed and collected some people,” Larson said. “We made some passes throughout; in the mid-portion, we weren’t very good but then we got better at the end.

“I just ran really, really hard there, and knew I was running out of time, so I had to go. I made some pretty crazy and dumb moves, but I got to second and was hoping we could get a caution to get racing with Justin there. He was sliding himself at both ends and thought that maybe we could get a run and just out-angle him into [Turn] 1 and get clear off [Turn] 2 if we got a caution, but it just didn’t work out.”

Larson padded one of the most impressive stats in the history of this race, however. In 10 starts, he’s won three times, finished second four times, was third once and fourth twice.

Bryant Wiedeman took the final spot on the podium.

As Grant and Larson began to pick their way through the field, Kofoid took the lead early from the outside of the front row and led the first 44 laps of the race before handing it over to Cannon McIntosh, who bicycled on Lap 71 before landing on all fours. While Macedo and Thorson tussled for the lead with McIntosh, Grant closed in.

Thorson finished 19th with McIntosh 20th. Macedo recovered from his incident to finish ninth. Kofoid’s hard tumble relegated him to 23rd.

Jake Andreotti in fourth and Kevin Thomas, Jr. rounded out the top five.

1. Justin Grant (started 13)
2. Kyle Larson (22)
3. Bryant Wiedeman (4)
4. Jake Andreotti (9)
5. Kevin Thomas Jr. (1)
6. Logan Seavey (8)
7. Alex Bright (27)
8. Emerson Axsom (24)
9. Carson Macedo (7)
10. Jason McDougal (18)
11. Jake Swanson (16)
12. Chase Johnson (6)
13. Jacob Denney (26)
14. Ryan Timms (23)
15. Chance Crum (28)
16. Brenham Crouch (17)
17. Jonathan Beason (19)
18. Cade Lewis (14)
19. Tanner Thorson (11)
20. Cannon McIntosh (3)
21. Thomas Meseraull (15)
22. Tyler Courtney (21)
23. Buddy Kofoid (2)
24. Brody Fuson (5)
25. Mitchel Moles (20)
26. Daniel Whitley (10)
27. Kaylee Bryson (12)
28. Spencer Bayston (25)