By: Tanner Watkins
July 13, 2018 | 10:00 AM
Some important details have emerged from the Honda Indy Toronto race weekend that will have an impact on the highest rung on the Mazda Road to Indy ladder, Indy Lights.
In 2019 the series will introduce a discount program for new teams entering Indy Lights, encouraging both existing and potential suitors to hop aboard with fresh entries.
This comes as a response to the diminishing car counts we have seen in Indy Lights this season as a result of both team and driver graduations to the Verizon IndyCar Series.
Additionally, work has been done behind the scenes with Mazda Road to Indy partners to reduce operating costs for all teams moving forward.
In order to launch the discount program, Indy Lights has teamed up with Dallara, Advanced Engine Research (AER), PFC brakes and other key suppliers to extend partnership agreements through the 2022 season. This includes the series using the Dallara IL-15 chassis for another four years after this season.
While all teams in Indy Lights will see a relief in their operating costs in 2019 and beyond, teams looking to join Indy Lights as new entries will receive larger discounts as an incentive to join the series.
Starting in 2019, the price to purchase a Dallara IL-15 chassis will be slashed from its current mark of $234,700 all the way to $199,495. Taking that a step further, new entries will enjoy an additional discount of $5,000 to bring the price to $194,495 – a $40,005 savings on purchasing a chassis as a new team in 2019 than it would have been for 2018.
Other price reductions for all teams include AER engine leases reduced from $107,000 to $90,000 for one or two car teams – and a price reduction down to $85,000 for three and four car teams – plus price reductions on Motegi Wheels and Cooper Tires sets.
New teams will enjoy the most benefits in their first year of operation, as their long list of discounts adds onto the reductions all other existing teams will see. For fresh entries they will be granted the following:
- 1,500 complimentary engine miles from AER – a $30,000 value – for off-season testing with a signed 2019 lease,
- Entry to a two-day test at Mid-Ohio Sports Car Course – free of charge – in October of 2018,
- A free set of Motegi Wheels, plus two additional sets at a discounted price of $3,400 per set (normally $4,000 per set starting in 2019),
- Six free sets of Cooper Tires designated for off-season testing if a team purchases a new chassis and signs an engine lease for 2019,
- Discounts on the Cosworth Electronics package – containing data system, logger, wiring looms and sensors – up to 25% off of their normal pricing,
- Dampers from Dynamic Dampers at a rate of $8,000 for the first set of four – a 29% discount from normal pricing, and
- Discounts on exhaust headers, paddle shift kits and batteries that total up to $9,300.
In all, new teams joining Indy Lights in 2019 will save over $134,000 through various discounts from Dallara, AER, Motegi Wheels, Cooper Tires, Cosworth, Dynamic Dampers and other series partners.
This is a deliberate effort from the series to reduce the cost of entry – just as we have seen with the Verizon IndyCar Series – which will hopefully encourage new owners to step forward and make the jump, as well as nudge existing Indy Lights car owners to up their ante in the development program.
Indy Lights will also revise its prize package structure that will result in increased payouts for teams, though more details regarding those changes will be released at a later date. This comes as a welcome sight for team owners, as well as an expected reduction in in-season testing dates to cut down on test costs.
The series is expected to limit teams to seven total test days during the 2019 season, which will be composed of five series test days and two private team test days. The in-season testing calendar will run from January 1 through the last day of the 2019 season.
More details and official confirmation from the Mazda Road to Indy is expected to be publicized when IndyCar visits Mid-Ohio later this month.
Image courtesy of Mazda Road to Indy.