Indy Lights: Series champ Gabby Chaves takes new IL-15 to Brickyard oval

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A successful weekend of testing for the Indy Lights’ new Dallara IL-15 concluded yesterday at Indianapolis Motor Speedway, as reigning series champion Gabby Chaves drove it on the 2.5-mile Indy oval.

Chaves logged 190 miles and set an unofficial Indy Lights track record lap of 191.900 mph, eclipsing the legitimate record of Wade Cunningham (190.177 mph, May 22, 2009).

On Saturday, Verizon IndyCar Series drivers Scott Dixon and James Hinchcliffe praised the car after running it on the IMS road course.

And on Sunday, Chaves did the same following his day on the oval.

“Obviously, on the outside it is beautiful,” Chaves said in a release. “Once I got inside, it was a big step from the older Indy Lights car. I was very happy with the way it drove and we just made constant progression all day and went faster than anyone has ever gone before. To see all the changes we made and the positive effect they had, we were very pleased with that as well.

“The gearbox management and the new paddle-shifting system is really cool. It responds very quick with virtually no lag in between gears when shifting. The engine feels quicker than the older one with a lot more torque initially and then more power as well. The car just feels a lot more nimble because the engine is so much lighter.

“Overall, the package is just incredibly much better and the potential is huge.”

Chaves’ Sunday session marked the end of scheduled testing for the IL-15. Now all that’s left is for the teams to take delivery of their new machines.

“It will be interesting to see what happens once the teams get hold of the car,” said project manager Tony Cotman in the same release. “I feel we will deliver a reliable car which will challenge both the teams and the drivers.”

The car will make its next appearance in demonstration laps during the Chris Griffis Memorial Open Test for the Mazda Road to Indy.

That test will take place Sept. 13 and 14 on the IMS road course, and IndyCar veteran Josef Newgarden will be at the IL-15’s controls.