JOLIET, Ill., Friday, Aug. 31, 2001 - The Indy Racing Infiniti Pro Series, a new racing series created on the same founding principles of the Indy Racing League, will make its debut in mid-2002 with an inaugural season of up to seven races in conjunction with the Indy Racing Northern Light Series.
Indy Racing League President and CEO Tony George and Indy Racing League Vice President of Operations Brian Barnhart outlined the details of the new series during a press conference Aug. 31 at Chicagoland Speedway. Infiniti Q45 engines will power new Dallara Automobili chassis built exclusively for the series. The V8 engines will produce approximately 450 horsepower for the single-seat winged chassis, providing an ideal training ground for the 650-horsepower, single-seat winged cars of the Northern Light Series.
"The launch of this new series is the natural evolution of the Indy Racing League," George said. "It was a goal of the Indy Racing League to debut the Indy Racing Infiniti Pro Series with a sound business model in place. With our partners at Dallara and Infiniti, this will be a successful series that will add value to promoters when they host an Indy Racing League weekend."
Similar to Indy Racing Northern Light Series regulations, costs and development for the Indy Racing Infiniti Pro Series will be controlled tightly by the Indy Racing League. It is estimated that a full season of competition (12 races) for a single-car team will cost approximately $800,000, Barnhart said.
"In discussions we've initiated with many of the tracks that host Indy Racing League events, the response has been extremely enthusiastic," Barnhart said. "It would be easy to let emotion take over and try to debut the series sooner, but we want to allow teams adequate time to form, take delivery of cars and market their teams."
This series also extends Infiniti's extensive involvement with the Indy Racing League. The company has produced engines for the series since 1997.
"The Infiniti Q45 has set the new standard for performance in the highly competitive premium luxury class, and one of its outstanding characteristics is its powerful V8 engine," said Steve Kight, director of marketing, Infiniti Division, and director of motorsports, Nissan North America, Inc. "This engine features technology from years of research and motorsports experience, and represents the pinnacle of our performance technology. The fact that the Indy Racing League selected this production engine to power its new racing series is one of the best accolades we could receive. We continue to be impressed with the growth of the IRL, as demonstrated by this new support series, and look forward to our expanded involvement."
Additional details of the series will be released when they become available, including tire supplier, television package and series logo.