Indy Lights: Scott Dixon, James Hinchcliffe sample new IL-15

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A pair of Verizon IndyCar Series veterans have given high marks to the Indy Lights’ new car for 2015, the Dallara IL-15, after a test session yesterday at Indianapolis Motor Speedway.

Three-time IndyCar champion Scott Dixon and James Hinchcliffe logged a combined 80 laps on IMS’ 2.4-mile road course with the machine. Afterwards, Dixon thought the IL-15 would serve as “a fantastic stepping stone” to the top level of North American open-wheel racing.

“The performance is very good; it is very durable and no problems,” Dixon said of his day in a release. “I actually spun a couple of times with the initial setup we had on it but going through the changes, the car reacted well.

“I think we probably went through 10 or 12 changes on the car. It reacted in a way you would think. All in all, it was good. Just a few hours, but nice to drive.”

Dixon also said that the relevance of the new car in regards to technology will make Indy Lights a stronger series than it has been in recent years.

“I think the biggest thing for us right now –  for Indy Lights and for IndyCar – is that it is updated ten-fold over the last spec,” he said, referring to the 2002-spec chassis that had been in place.

“Adding the paddle shifts and the technology that has been applied to this car makes it relative to a lot of other formulas. It will definitely attract a lot of Europeans and even more Americans to the series.”

Hinchcliffe also reported a trouble-free day inside the cockpit of the IL-15. He said that the new car will be a better way to prepare up-and-coming drivers for the demands of the DW-12, the Verizon IndyCar Series’ chassis since 2012.

“…With the DW12, it is really a good time to introduce a new chassis for Indy Lights, introduce a turbo-charged engine,” he said. “And I think the drivers are going to get a much better feel of what they are going to be jumping into with the DW12 – dealing with turbo-charged engines and the characteristics of that and a little bit higher downforce.

“For me, Indy Lights has always been a great tool to develop young drivers and really prepare them for IndyCar, and this is just the next step in that progression.”

Testing continues today for the IL-15 on the IMS oval with Indy Lights champion Gabby Chaves behind the wheel. You’ll see him in the last bit of social media below.