Report: Mazda to announce it will provide all motors for 2015 Indy Lights schedule

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After months of speculation, it appears Mazda will finally make it official Thursday that it will provide all engines for the 2015 Indy Lights season, according to a report Wednesday by AutoWeek.com.

“Mazda will be the manufacturer that badges Indy Lights engines in 2015,” the AutoWeek report stated. “The news will be confirmed Thursday at the Performance Racing Industry Trade Show in Indianapolis, after official confirmation was expected for months.

“The deal is part of Indy Lights getting a much-needed equipment package for the 2015 season. Not to mention, it always figured that the Mazda Road to Indy program would be powered at its highest level by Mazda engines, and that’s now going to be the case.”

The new engine is expected to be a 2.0-liter, turbocharged four-cylinder motor that will pump out about 450 horsepower. It will be mated to the Dallara IL-15 chassis that was announced back in May.

“Series owner Dan Andersen said about a half-dozen of the engines have been delivered to teams so far, and there’s an opportunity to test next week at Florida’s Palm Beach International Raceway. A full-series open test is set for next month at the same track,” the AutoWeek.com report stated.

It is expected that as many as 20 teams may take part in the Mazda Indy Lights Series in 2015. AutoWeek.com said that list includes teams such as Andretti, Schmidt, Peterson, Conquest, Belardi, Juncos, Dragon, Fan Force United, Herta, McCormack, Moore and Carlin.

The 2015 Indy Lights Series Presented by Cooper Tires season begins March 30 in St. Petersburg, Florida.

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Helio Castroneves ‘hustling’ for IndyCar, IMSA rides; talking with four to five teams

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As his season gathers steam, Helio Castroneves said his prospects for finding new rides for 2021 in IMSA and IndyCar also are gaining momentum.

The three-time Indianapolis 500 winner said Monday he is optimistic about landing in either or perhaps a combination of both series when Team Penske and Acura end their DPi partnership after this season.

“A lot of people I spoke with, four to five teams, are interested,” Castroneves said. “Whether it’s doing Indy 500 only, whether it’s pushing to do full time or do the sports cars as well. It’s been a very nice conversation.

LOOKING AHEADTeam Penske drivers seeking new rides for 2021

“I have a lot of respect for all the teams that have been talking, and I feel the same feedback. We just have to wait for their (sponsor) connections, and I’m also looking for some connections on my side as well, so hopefully we’ll be able to put this together and get something very soon.”

Given two decades of success with Penske in IndyCar and IMSA, Castroneves’ resume hardly needs burnishing. But the Brazilian has combined with co-driver Ricky Taylor in the No. 7 Acura DPi to win the past two overall victories at Road America and Michelin Raceway Road Atlanta.

But Castroneves, who doesn’t have a manager, said he has been working the phones hard rather than wait for the strong results to bring in the calls.

“At this point, I feel like I’m the one who needs to be talking to them because people need to know I want to continue racing and understand my desire,” Castroneves, 45, said. “There is opportunity, no question, in both (IndyCar and IMSA), which I’m really happy about it. However, because of the COVID-19, a lot of things sometimes have to be a little delayed. But I’m excited. Whatever the opportunity and whatever destiny guides me, whether IndyCar or sports cars, trust me I’ll be as happy as it could be and doing my 100 percent like I always did.

“It’s like politics, you need to be out there, good news or bad news. People have to make notice of your presence. I’m hustling. I want to continue to keep it going. Hopefully, we’ll have good news very soon.”

The news has been all good lately on track for Castroneves and Taylor, who hope to continue their run Sunday at Mid-Ohio Sports Car Course.

The No. 6 duo has surged to sixth in the IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship standings, 10 points out of the lead with four races remaining. After thinking there was “no hope” to be competitive after opening the season with three consecutive poor finishes, Taylor now sees an opportunity for a happy ending.

“With the program going away, Helio has won all the big races and given so much back to the team and left such a mark, he’s really part of Penske history,” Taylor said. “For me, it’s been an opportunity of a lifetime to be a part of it. I’d like to leave my little mark as well. Helio has won everything except for a championship.

“Obviously, we’ve won races already together, but we can win a championship now. I think if both of us can do that together and both win our first championship for ‘The Captain,’ that would be an absolute dream come true, and we can tie a bow on it and be happy.”