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Penske proud after first 12 months of Indy Lights stewardship – EAST AUTO NEWS

Penske proud after first 12 months of Indy Lights stewardship


Roger Penske is happy with the job his Penske Leisure workforce have completed throughout their first season of working the Indy Lights championship. Of the notable modifications, a brand new collection boss was put in with Levi Jones, investments had been made within the {hardware} used to carry out technical inspections, and a slight improve in grid dimension with 12 full-time entries and fields that reached 14 automobiles at a handful of rounds had been recorded

The prospects for 2023 are particularly encouraging, with an anticipated spike in entries that would push Indy Lights to almost 20 automobiles for the primary time because the 2000s. The success follows the groundwork established by Dan Andersen and his daughter Michelle Kish, who operated the championship for eight seasons.

After a collection of failures to modernize the Lights collection, IndyCar handed management of the collection to Andersen Promotions in 2014, and by 2015, a brand new Dallara IL15 chassis and turbocharged four-cylinder Mazda engine was launched to assist the highest step of the Highway To Indy transfer ahead. The chassis and unbadged motor proceed to function the idea of the Indy Lights collection.

With its buy of IndyCar in 2020, Penske Leisure focused taking up the Indy Lights property that got here with the sale, and after Andersen Promotions accomplished the 2021 season, full management returned to Indy Lights’ guardian firm. Enhancements within the return of prize cash for every race and a brand new deal to deliver Firestone again to Indy Lights as its sole provider had been introduced underneath Penske’s watch.

In most regards, Penske’s debut as promotor for the collection was a hit.

“Since we’ve taken it over, there’s no query that the curiosity is simply wonderful,” Penske instructed RACER. “When you concentrate on it, we may have 15 to 18 automobiles subsequent 12 months and good groups coming in, leaving different collection, and coming into the Lights collection. And I believe Levi’s completed an excellent job. We’ve stepped up the technical aspect of it. We’ll have Firestone coming in to produce tires subsequent 12 months, so it’ll be a constant tire between Indy Lights and the IndyCar aspect of it.

“It’s going to be a fantastic 12 months, and I’m thrilled with it. And I’m positive that Andretti and HMD and all people else that’s going to proceed to put money into Lights goes to be comfortable subsequent 12 months. So I’d give ourselves grade.”

The HMD Motorsports with Dale Coyne Racing workforce will broaden to run eight automobiles subsequent 12 months. Andretti Autosport is ready to return with 4, and from there, Abel Motorsports is predicted to proceed with two automobiles. Juncos Hollinger Racing is aiming to discipline two together with USF2000 champion Cape Motorsports, which can step as much as Lights. Power Indy can be anticipated to proceed, but it surely’s unclear whether or not that can stay as a standalone entry or if it’s going to depend as one among HMD’s eight. Legacy Autosport has additionally bought a automobile and said its intent to compete in Indy Lights.

Altogether, the year-to-year progress needs to be outstanding. The one vital setback is discovered with the dramatic drop within the Lights champion’s development prize, which noticed a discount from $1.2 million in 2021 to the $500,000 awarded to Linus Lundqvist final weekend.

Future scholarship incentives are underneath discussions, reminiscent of having IndyCar companions Chevrolet or Honda contribute an engine lease to every new Indy Lights champion, and the identical idea has been floated for Firestone to supply a 12 months of free IndyCar tires to the title winner. Collectively, these leases can be value greater than $2 million if and when IndyCar could make them occur.

“We’ve talked about all these topics,” Penske stated. “And we’ve gone to our groups and requested them to provide us some perception and concepts on how we are able to make it higher with what finally ends up being given to the champion. It’s a spotlight for us as a result of Indy Lights is an integral a part of our enterprise.”

The potential of a reputation change for the collection has made the rounds as properly, with ‘IndyCar Lights’ talked about as a potential rebranding effort to come back through the offseason.

Penske proud after first 12 months of Indy Lights stewardship – EAST AUTO NEWS
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