Veteran Verizon IndyCar Series team A.J. Foyt Racing is evaluating a possible return to the Indy Lights series in 2015. The Waller, Texas-based Foyt outfit is taking a serious look at purchasing a new Dallara IL15 chassis to compete in the top step of the Mazda Road To Indy, and provided it happens, it would serve as the team's third tour in the Indy Lights series since its formation in the 1980s.
"There's a lot of interest there—we think Dallara's built a good car for the series and that it would be a really good training ground for us with mechanics and anyone looking to come up to the IndyCar Series with us," said team manager Larry Foyt.
Under the direction of A.J. Foyt, the team entered the original Indy Lights series in 1989 , then known as the American Racing Series, with a car for future Indy Racing League founder Tony George. The team returned in 2002 for the inaugural season of the Infiniti Pro Series, winning the championship with A.J. Foyt IV, and ran one more full season with current IndyCar Series owner/driver Ed Carpenter in 2003. The team continues to work toward adding a second IndyCar entry to its roster for 2015, and given the long off-season ahead, Foyt says the team has plenty of time to work on putting a Lights deal together for someone who might be interested in moving up through Foyt's in-house ladder system.
"It's something where we'd be looking for a driver that has some budget – maybe coming from somewhere that they have some sponsorship that wants to join a road with a team where we already have an IndyCar team in place," he added. "The good thing there is we have the space and a lot of equipment already, and we'd have to buy the big ticket items, but we're already in good shape with a lot of what we'd need to run things."
Foyt expects the costs to own and run the 2015 Indy Lights car to be higher than what they experienced in the Infiniti Pro Series, yet offered an interesting take on how he expects to sell the program to interested parties.
"It's going to be more expensive, and it's hard to sell your typical sponsor on regular impressions to make, but I think the car's more relevant and more what a kid coming out of Europe or other big ladder series would expect to drive," he said. "It's more representative of what they'll be going to in the future, and that makes a difference in what you're paying for.
"It closes the gap between the current Lights car and the current Indy car, and I think that's really good. It's going to take some more budget, but I think the car is more related to what these kids will be driving in the future than what the Lights car is right now."