The Fiestone Indy Lights series is looking to upgrade its equipment for 2014Enlarge Photo
The cars are old, the engines are so old they no longer bear the name of a manufacturer, but the Firestone Indy Lights Championship - top run of the Mazda Road to Indy - intends to have new cars and engines when the series begins its 2014 season.
The series distributed requests for proposals to potential manufacturers and development companies early in May for both engine and chassis requirements; series officials will begin reviewing and evaluating the submitted applications after the June 30, 2012 due date.Among the chassis manufacturers that have responded to the RFP are Dallara (constructor of the current car), Swift, Elan Motorsport Technologies and some private entities, including French manufacturer Mugen.
"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."
There are several items under consideration for the 2014 Firestone Indy Lights race car:
The new chassis should reflect current contemporary design in race cars with a forward-thinking, sophisticated and exciting formula, series officials said. The new chassis must be adaptable to compete on road, street and oval circuits with a minimum of facility-specific parts. In other words, the chassis must be able to adapt easily to each circuit where the series competes.
The new chassis will have to surpass all current FIA static and impact regulations, while having the flexibility to accommodate a broad spectrum of driver sizes and their necessary seating positions.
Firestone Indy Lights series officials are looking for improved aerodynamic performance - but they're also aware that enhanced sponsor placement opportunities are necessary on the bodywork of the new car.
An improved technical package will include paddle shifting, data systems and sensors, and other new technology may be considered for the Lights car. Finally, the series is looking toward the potential to integrate an alternative fuel source with the new Indy Lights package. There is also the probability of including a KERS system and some form of natural gas.
"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, Firestone Indy Lights technical director.
"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."
This project will be under the supervision of Kremer and INDYCAR vice president of technology Will Phillips.