It’s remarkable to note that Dallara’s
IL- 15 is the first Indy Lights chassis
designed to compete on both ovals
and road/street courses.
Dating back to the original March
Formula 3000-based American Racing
Series chassis that birthed Indy Lights
in 1986, that car, the two Lolas that
followed and the IPS Dallara were either
converted road racing cars tasked with
handling ovals or, in the case of the
Dallara, an oval car that went through
a thorough road-racing makeover.
The March was a blubbery creation,
saddled with a cast-iron Buick V6 anchor
in the back and semi-humorous attempts
to add downforce via the tallest rear
wing since Jim Hall’s Chaparral 2E.
The Lolas were vast improvements,
despite the understeery tendencies
carried over with the Buick, and the
current Dallara, on ovals at least, has
performed well. It’s as a road racer that
the Dallara has its limitations, but its
successor, the multi-purpose IL- 15 is
expected to shine at every track.
“It’s designed to race on all types of
circuits – road and street, short ovals
and speedways,” says Tony Cotman.
“Other than an IndyCar, the series that
these indy Lights drivers are aiming
for, there’s no other open-wheel
chassis capable of this. Many people
don’t understand the extra work or
features which go into designing a
chassis that can operate at all types
of venues, while giving consideration
to overall inventory, quality of
components and cost containment.”
Open-wheel racing fans got their first look
at the new Dallara IL- 15 Indy Lights car on
the Thursday before the 2014 Indy 500.
BUILT TO BE VERSATILE
open-wheel series cars across the world.
We’ve increased safety and strength, and
we believe the car will create new
demand from drivers and sponsors.”
The monocoque is all-new, yet carries
many of the lessons and most of the
identifying shapes of the DW12 tub. The
inside of the IL- 15 is so similar, a driver can
take a seat made for the DW12 and drop it
into the new Indy Lights car, or vice versa.
“There’s more foam under the driver,
therefore the sides of the cockpit by the
head surround are 15mm (0.6in.) taller,”
Cotman reveals, “and there’s a slight shape
change of dash bulkhead. The rest of the
cockpit and tub is very similar to the DW12.
There’s Zylon [anti-intrusion panels] the
entire length, which is the same as the
IndyCar. The fuel cell is 20 gallons, the roll
hoop is slightly different, and it has a
quick disconnect nose like IndyCar.
“Overall, there’s a lot that will look or feel
familiar to a driver, mechanic or engineer
when they graduate to the big series.”
Delving into the costs associated with
the IL- 15 reveals several creative solutions
to assist in making the switch for 2015.
“The Dallara IL- 15 chassis is offered at a
base price of $234,700, not including
certain things like Motegi wheels, Cosworth
data, PFC brakes, etc.,” says Andersen. “The
full-season AER engine lease costs $88,000
all-in. The Dynamic dampers and Ricardo
gearbox internals are carry-overs from the
current Indy Lights car. Plus, there are
several incentive discounts for the chassis
and for supplemental components offered
to current teams and to early purchasers.
“Dallara also offers a three-year chassis
lease-to-own program, spreading initial
capital costs over several years. The car is, of
course, more expensive than the current car,
which is a 2002 racecar, so you’d expect a
slight increase. The engine lease compares
favorably to what the current engine lease
was several years back, and is only slightly
higher than what we offer in 2014 with
our discounted engine program.”
The costs to campaign a new IL- 15, at
least initially, will be above 2014 levels,
although Andersen says the price point is
similar to those found in competing
top-tier open-wheel feeder categories.
“The annual operating budgets vary
from team to team, depending upon the
amount of testing, crash damage
allowances, number of tires, etc.,” he
notes, “but top team budgets should still
be in the $900,000-$1,000,000 range,
which compares very favorably with
European-based championship budgets.”
Learning to manage tires and make
in-cockpit adjustments to optimize
performance is a valuable lesson for
drivers making the jump to IndyCar.
The cockpit of Dallara’s IL- 15 is so similar to the DW12
IndyCar that a driver could use the same seat in either.
That level of attention to detail will help a driver’s ability
to make the transition to the destination championship.
90 AUGUST 2014
dALLARA IL- 15