Flurry of orders placed for new 2015 Indy Lights car

2 Comments

Indy Lights Presented by Cooper Tires has provided an update on car orders placed for the new Dallara IL15 chassis.

Schmidt Peterson Motorsports with Curb-Agajanian has officially confirmed it’s placed an order for two new cars. A couple weeks ago, SPM team manager Rob Edwards outlined that plan in an interview with MotorSportsTalk when James Hinchcliffe was confirmed for SPM’s Verizon IndyCar Series team.

Other confirmed multiple car orders have been placed by Belardi Auto Racing, Juncos Racing and McCormack Racing, the latter of whom was first in line to order the new chassis. Belardi has confirmed Felix Serralles, the lone driver officially set for next year.

8Star Motorsports has also placed an order for one car and is expected to place an order for a second car.

Per a release from Indy Lights, 10 teams are already committed for next year.

Andersen Promotions owner/CEO Dan Andersen said in the release, “I couldn’t be more thrilled with the caliber of teams that will be campaigning programs, and I fully expect to see 15 to 20 cars on the grid next March.”

Testing will begin in Florida in December and January with series tests at Palm Beach International Raceway on December 16/17 and Homestead-Miami Speedway on January 26/27 (road course) and January 29 (oval). Prototype testing concluded September 6.

SO WHO FILLS THE CARS, OR FILLS THE GRID? 

If you figure Schmidt Peterson, Belardi, Juncos, McCormack and 8Star are already entered, that should be the potential for at least 10 cars if each team runs two. You could get to 10 even if those one or more of the other teams run single-car entries, and if SPM runs three or four as the team often does, with drivers bringing budget to the third and fourth seats.

Remaining 2014 full-season teams Andretti Autosport and Team Moore Racing are yet to officially commit. There are whisperings of other teams who have committed to a chassis purchase, but have not been publicly identified.

Drivers? There’s a bevy of talent waiting in the wings. Jack Harvey is working on a return and if he comes back to SPM, would easily be the preseason title favorite. Pro Mazda champion Spencer Pigot will move up; both Alan Sciuto and Parker Kligerman impressed in the Chris Griffis Mazda Road to Indy test and 8Star is keen to run Sean Rayhall if the budget can come together. That’s not even considering the depth of talent in Pro Mazda, USF2000 and abroad who may be looking to race in the U.S. next season.

The IndyCar silly season is always one to watch, but this winter, Indy Lights could well be on par for fans and observers looking down the road for future talent.

Dale Earnhardt Jr. will race IndyCar stars in iRacing at Michigan

Leave a comment

The invite has been received, and Dale Earnhardt Jr. has another iRacing event on his schedule.

The NASCAR on NBC analyst tweeted Wednesday that he will make his debut in the IndyCar iRacing Challenge with Saturday’s race at Michigan Speedway. The race will be shown live on NBCSN at 2:30 p.m. ET Saturday.

The 2-mile oval was chosen by IndyCar drivers as the third track in the six-race series. Earnhardt heartily endorsed Michigan as a potential iRacing venue Monday along with Daytona and Talladega. Michigan nearly was selected by fans as the opener in the iRacing Challenge.

DRIVE LIKE ANDRETTI: Marco is in for Michigan

REVISED SCHEDULE: IndyCar makes 2020 adjustments

Earnhardt, a longtime avid iRacing fan, had been lobbying since last Thursday that he was interested in racing with IndyCar drivers.

He has driven in the first three races of the eNASCAR Pro Invitational, finishing second to Denny Hamlin in the opener at Homestead-Miami Speedway.

Last year, he attended his first Indianapolis 500, working as an analyst as part of NBC Sports’ inaugural broadcast of the Greatest Spectacle in Racing.

“I’d love to do it,” Earnhardt said Monday about joining the IndyCar iRacing Challenge. “I think I’d love to get to know those guys.

“I had such a great time at the Indy 500 last year, and the reception that I received from other drivers there really meant a lot to me. So I know they’re all a lot of great dudes in that series that I already know that I’d love to get to know some of them even better.”

It already has been quite the week for Earnhardt, who was announced Monday as one of 15 nominees for the 2021 NASCAR Hall of Fame.

The field for Saturday’s race at Michigan should include another  NASCAR driver in Jimmie Johnson. The seven-time Cup champion has driven the first two races of the IndyCar iRacing Challenge (and has plans to race IndyCar part time in the future).