THE COST OF GOING RACING
Dallara’s 2002-era Infiniti Pro
Series chassis has not aged
gracefully. Yet, for all of its
shortcomings, it continues to
serve its intended purpose. The
Infiniti V8-powered cars have
become cost-effective solutions
for the multicar teams that run
them. Chassis production has
long since come to an end,
leaving teams to buy and sell
rolling chassis for $80-110,000
on the used market.
An average full-season budget
is around the $700,000 mark,
and up to $1m in scholarships is
available to help the champ make
the jump to IndyCar, but even the
Firestone Freedom 100 at Indy
could lure in only 11 starters.
Looking ahead, an annual engine
lease of $70,000 will get teams all
the testing, racing and rebuilds
required in 2014, and with a new
car on the way for ’ 15, engine lease
price could be in a similar range. An
expected new-chassis price of
$240,000 for the ’ 15 car could
come with some form of friendly
multi-year payment option.
The Elan Technologies-built, Van
Diemen-designed USF2000 chassis
can be purchased for $60,000 as a
roller, minus engine and electronics.
The four-cylinder Mazda MZR
engine and the requisite data
system add another $30,000 to
the total, bringing a ready-to-race
car to $90,000. Rebuilds come at
a rather amazing 8,000 miles,
allowing many teams to go more
than a season without sending their
engines in for a $5,000 freshening.
Annual budgets for a USF2000
Championship Class season
(seven events/14 races, plus two
standalone tests) average $200k,
although a car can be run for less.
The Van Diemen-designed Pro
Mazda chassis retails for $120,000
as a complete package, with its
two-rotor Renesis engine and data
system already included. Annual
budgets in the $400,000 region
are common, but they could be
coming down in 2014 as the series
looks for more efficiency. Prior to
the acquisition of the series by
Andersen Promotions, $14,000
engine rebuilds were required
every three races. A shift to
SpeedSource-built engines, along
with a new rebuild process, now
gives teams a full season of use for
$12,000, and the price might even
be a little lower next year.
Multi-car teams from
Andretti, Belardi and
long-time series powerhouse
Schmidt (Jack Hawksworth
pictured) dominate the
sparse Indy Lights grid.
USF2000 is the first rung
on the ladder. More than
$0.5m in prizes and awards
was available in 2013.
Racing at the storied Trois-Rivieres
street track in Quebec brings added
kudos to the Pro Mazda schedule.