Flurry of orders placed for new 2015 Indy Lights car

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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.

Andretti United team names drivers for inaugural Extreme E season

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The Extreme E team formed by Andretti Autosport and United Autosports named Catie Munnings and Timmy Hansen as its drivers Monday for the series’ inaugural 2021 season.

Munnings is a successful veteran of rally series. Hansen is a past winner and champion in the World Rallycross Championship.

They both will race in the environmentally conscious electric SUV series that will hold events in five areas around the world that are threatened by climate change. Chip Ganassi Racing and six-time Formula One champion Lewis Hamilton also are fielding cars in Extreme E, which will feature male and female co-drivers on every team.

Catie Munnings

“I’m so excited to join Andretti United Extreme E,” Munnings said in a release. ““I was really intrigued when I first heard about Extreme E, I just knew I had to be involved. The male / female racing partnership is a fantastic and exciting new concept. The season has incredible locations and the racing will be very exciting. It will be a new challenge for the teams and drivers, and I’m so thrilled to be working with such a strong team.

“The championship is a really innovative concept, it’s combining motorsport and science and will produce an important legacy in each race location. Bringing the platform that motorsport has in line with the awareness that the planet needs right now is awesome and a really important message.”

Timmy Hansen

Said Hansen: “Going into the Extreme E will be a new chapter in my career, one that I am extremely excited about. It is something brand new, not only for me, but the whole of motorsport. The format is something

we’ve never seen before. I’m also delighted to be able to carry the message of something bigger – talking about the environment and doing something good for the world – that’s something that really drives me. It’s going to be a big adventure in life to see these locations and I’m going to do my best in carrying this responsibility and hopefully making people aware of the challenges we have in the world, together with our passion for racing.”