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HomeF1Penske proud after first yr of Indy Lights stewardship

Penske proud after first yr of Indy Lights stewardship


Roger Penske is happy with the job his Penske Leisure workforce have performed 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 enhance in grid measurement 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 might push Indy Lights to just about 20 automobiles for the primary time for the reason that 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 premise 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’ mum or dad firm. Enhancements within the return of prize cash for every race and a brand new deal to convey Firestone again to Indy Lights as its sole provider had been introduced beneath 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 advised RACER. “When you consider it, we may have 15 to 18 automobiles subsequent yr and good groups coming in, leaving different collection, and coming into the Lights collection. And I feel Levi’s performed an impressive job. We’ve stepped up the technical facet of it. We’ll have Firestone coming in to provide tires subsequent yr, so it’ll be a constant tire between Indy Lights and the IndyCar facet of it.

“It’s going to be a terrific yr, and I’m thrilled with it. And I’m positive that Andretti and HMD and everyone else that’s going to proceed to spend money on Lights goes to be pleased subsequent yr. So I’d give ourselves a great grade.”

The HMD Motorsports with Dale Coyne Racing workforce will increase to run eight automobiles subsequent yr. Andretti Autosport is about to return with 4, and from there, Abel Motorsports is predicted to proceed with two automobiles. Juncos Hollinger Racing is aiming to area two together with USF2000 champion Cape Motorsports, which is able to step as much as Lights. Drive Indy can also be anticipated to proceed, but it surely’s unclear whether or not that may stay as a standalone entry or if it’s going to rely as considered one of HMD’s eight. Legacy Autosport has additionally bought a automotive and said its intent to compete in Indy Lights.

Altogether, the year-to-year development ought to be exceptional. 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 beneath discussions, equivalent to 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 yr of free IndyCar tires to the title winner. Collectively, these leases could be price 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 offer us some perception and concepts on how we will 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 for a reputation change for the collection has made the rounds as effectively, with ‘IndyCar Lights’ talked about as a potential rebranding effort to return through the offseason.

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