New Indy Lights car performs first full test day at Mid-Ohio (VIDEO)

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Following a shakedown at Putnam Park in Indiana last week by Conor Daly (see below), the new Dallara IL15 Indy Lights car had its first proper run Monday at the Mid-Ohio Sports Car Course.

Daly was slated to drive once more on Monday but had to leave due to a sponsor commitment in Miami.

That left testing duties to Tristan Vautier, the 2013 Verizon IndyCar Series Rookie-of-the-Year, who’s been busy between Road To Indy TV work, Mazda LMP2 prototype racing and sports car racing this season.

Vautier got out early and began cranking off laps. Here was his pace after early runs:

The Frenchman put the new car through its paces and by the end of the day after 85 laps, got down to an unofficial best lap of 1:13.4 around the 2.258-mile road course, a time already half a second better than the pole time for this weekend’s pair of Indy Lights Presented by Cooper Tires races.

Here’s Vautier’s recap of the day, to Anders Krohn for R2ITV – Krohn is also the analyst for NBCSN’s Indy Lights race coverage.

Interest and discussion was high regarding the new Indy Lights chassis this weekend; the road course version of the car arrived on Sunday while the oval version show car was on display all weekend.

MotorSportsTalk has learned of at least one potential new entrant to the series, and potentially a current team on the Mazda Road to Indy ladder looking to purchase the new chassis. No formal announcement has been made by Andersen Promotions – the series promoters – regarding the number of chassis sold or number of teams interested.

But I did speak to Daly during the weekend, who hailed the car’s pace and ability. Here was Daly’s video of the car going past:

“This thing has a proper turbo sound and feel to it,” Daly said. “It’s going to be really cool to see how this car develops.”

Indeed along with the other news and notes on the IndyCar side, following the Indy Lights car and silly season development this winter is also going to be interesting to watch.

Zach Veach splits with Andretti Autosport for rest of IndyCar season

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Zach Veach will be leaving his Andretti Autosport ride with three races remaining in the season, choosing to explore options after the decision was made he wouldn’t return for 2021.

In a Wednesday release, Andretti Autosport said a replacement driver for the No. 26 Dallara-Honda would be named in the coming days. The NTT IndyCar Series will race Oct. 2-3 at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway road course and then conclude the season Oct. 25 on the streets of St. Petersburg, Florida.

Veach was ranked 11th in the points standings through 11 races of his third season with Andretti. Since a fourth in the June 6 season opener at Texas Motor Speedway, he hadn’t finished higher than 14th.

“The decision was made that I will not be returning in 2021 with Andretti Autosport in the No. 26 Gainbridge car,” Veach said in the Andretti release. “This, along with knowing that limited testing exists for teams due to COVID, have led me to the decision to step out of the car for the remainder of the 2020 IndyCar season. I am doing this to allow the team to have time with other drivers as they prepare for 2021, and so that I can also explore my own 2021 options.

“This is the hardest decision I have ever made, but to me, racing is about family, and it is my belief that you take care of your family. Andretti Autosport is my family and I feel this is what is best to help us all reach the next step. I will forever be grateful to Michael and the team for all of their support over the years. I would not be where I am today if it wasn’t for a relationship that started many years ago with Road to Indy. I will also be forever grateful to Dan Towriss for his friendship and for the opportunity he and Gainbridge have given me.

“My love for this sport and the people involved is unmeasurable, and I look forward to continuing to be amongst the racing world and fans in 2021.”

Said team owner Michael Andretti: “We first welcomed Zach to the Andretti team back in his USF2000 days and have enjoyed watching him grow and evolve as a racer, and a person. His decision to allow us to use the last few races to explore our 2021 options shows the measure of his character.

“Zach has always placed team and family first, and we’re very happy to have had him as part of ours for so many years. We wish him the best in whatever 2021 may bring and will always consider him a friend.”

Andretti fields five full-time cars for Veach, Alexander Rossi, Ryan Hunter-Reay, Marco Andretti and Colton Herta.

It also has fielded James Hinchcliffe in three races this season.