Interest in fixing the Firestone Indy Lights Series continues to build since it was revealed IndyCar handed over control of its top-tier ladder series to Andersen Promotions.
An interim update for the 2002 Dallara Indy Lights chassis is planned for 2014, adding a higher level of technology to the existing package, and a brand-new chassis and engine solution is on the cards for 2015, which should restore strength to the flagging series.
Reigning IndyCar Series Manufacturers’ champion Chevrolet is among several possible engine suppliers for 2015, as RACER has learned, and spoke with GM Racing boss Mark Kent about the brand’s interest during the recent Mid-Ohio event.
“We’ve actually had conversations [with IndyCar] over the last three years on Indy Lights,” he confirmed, referring to the series’ recent and ill-fated attempts to overhaul Indy Lights. “IndyCar was trying to re-define Indy Lights. We’ve actually had some dialogue exploring it. There was an opportunity for us to get involved in Indy Lights that made business sense to both of us.
“That sort of went away, but [IndyCar and Andersen Promotions] has reached out to us recently to explore our interest in a new formula. In all honesty, we have not had time to go back to it, but we will. We wonder if the Indy Lights series will re-emerge and if it doesn’t make sense for Chevrolet to be involved.”
General Motors served as the original engine supplier to the American Racing Series in 1986, providing a spec V6 from the Buick line which was used by renamed Indy Lights championship until its demise at the end of the 2001 season.
With GM’s long involvement in the series in mind, Kent believes there could be value in continuing the auto maker’s association with Indy Lights and sees a chance to possibly use and market something different in the engine bay than its the twin-turbo V6 IndyCar powerplant.
“Really, the interest from Chevrolet being in Indy Lights would be an opportunity to potentially demonstrate a different technology, where there would be an opportunity to demonstrate our EcoTech four-cylinder turbo, for example,” he explained. “So we need to sit down with IndyCar and understand the direction they’re going and if there’s a fit.”