[Source: Firestone Indy Lights press release]
INDIANAPOLIS (Friday, May 25, 2012) – Firestone Indy Lights announced today its intentions to debut a new race car for the 2014 season.
A request for proposal was distributed to potential manufacturers and development firms earlier this month for both engine and chassis, and series officials will begin reviewing and evaluating the submitted applications after the due date of June 30.
“As we look to the future for Firestone Indy Lights, we believe it’s important that we do everything we can to attract new drivers, teams, partners and manufacturers to our series to continue to improve our formal system of driver development,” said Tony George Jr., director, Firestone Indy Lights. “The debut of the new car in 2014 will be a key step in this process while allowing our teams to operate as a true business through improved value proposition.”
The desired attributes of the 2014 Firestone Indy Lights car include:
· New chassis is to reflect current contemporary race car design with a forward-thinking, sophisticated and exciting formula. Chassis must be adaptable to compete on road, street and oval circuits with a minimum of facility-specific parts.
· New chassis to surpass all current FIA static and impact regulations while having the flexibility to accommodate a broad spectrum of drivers and seating positions.
· Improved aerodynamic performance that must also allow for enhanced sponsor placement opportunities on the car.
· Improved technological package to include but not limited to: paddle shifting, data systems and sensors.
· Potential to integrate an alternative fuel source.
“With our premium on safety, our goal is to develop a car that is technology relevant to the new IZOD IndyCar Series car,” said Vince Kremer, technical director, Firestone Indy Lights. “It is our intent to remain a spec series, as it creates the right platform to identify driver talent and contain costs. While it is important for us to gain a manufacturer badge for the engine and receive the endorsement of the auto industry, we want to make sure it is done in the right economic structure for our teams.”
The project will be under the supervision of INDYCAR vice president of technology Will Phillips and Kremer.
Firestone Indy Lights is the official stepping stone to drivers and teams striving to reach the IZOD IndyCar Series and the Indianapolis 500, and is the third rung on the Mazda Road to Indy driver development ladder system. Recent Firestone Indy Lights graduates competing in the 96th Running of the Indianapolis 500 on May 27 include 2011 champion Josef Newgarden, 2009 champion JR Hildebrand, 2005 champion Wade Cunningham, James Hinchcliffe and Charlie Kimball.