Cape Motorsports, one of the most successful race teams in the history of the Road to Indy driver development ladder system, announced Saturday that it has purchased two new Dallara IL-15 chassis with plans to contest the 2023 Indy Lights season.
“We moved to Indianapolis a few years ago in order to move into Indy Lights,” team owners Dominic and Nicholas Cape said in the team’s release. “It was part of our plan from the outset, it just got pushed back a couple of years. Indianapolis has such a racing culture but more than that, so many of the other teams and suppliers are based (in Indy).
“We started talking about it a few years ago, figuring out where we were going with all this. We figured we’d better get cracking on it now, before it was too late. And once the series changed to Firestone tires, we knew that would level the playing field a bit. Once we got the ball rolling, getting the cars was the first step. We’ll have cars in September and will begin testing drivers in the Fall.”
The brothers moved from St. Petersburg, Florida, to their current Brownsburg, Indiana location ahead of the 2020 season, with a five-year plan in mind to progress first to Indy Lights and then to the top of the American open-wheel scene, the NTT INDYCAR SERIES. The close relationship between the two series was one of the keys to making the move work.
“INDYCAR and Indy Lights are so closely tied together,” Dominic Cape said. “We have seen how contesting Indy Lights can open doors into INDYCAR and that is our end goal. We have so much knowledge, growing up both in racing and in life. With the people we have around us now, it gives us a better opportunity to do well. The team members have been together for quite some time, so the resources are in place. And we’ve done this before, so we have an idea of how it works.”
Cape Motorsports has a storied history, capturing 13 Cooper Tires USF2000 Championship titles in the last 20 years, including nine of the last 11 driver titles. The team has also seen success in sports car racing, earning the IMSA Prototype Challenge championship title in 2006.
But as Dominic Cape noted, this will not be the team’s first foray into Indy Lights.
The team first contested the series in 2007, 2008 and 2010. In 2007 and 2008, the Cape brothers managed the RLR Andersen Racing team (a partnership between Dan Andersen and Rahal Letterman Racing) with a driver lineup that included future series champion JR Hildebrand, with whom they had captured the USF2000 title in 2006. In late 2008, they headed in a new direction, working with Beyer Racing in its new Grand-Am Sports Car Series effort in 2009. The brothers ran several IMSA Prototype Challenge events in 2008 with future stars Jordan and Ricky Taylor, beginning a relationship with the entire Taylor family.
The team returned to Indy Lights in 2010 in partnership with Wayne Taylor Racing, with Gustavo Yacamán behind the wheel. The Cape Motorsports w/Wayne Taylor Racing team was back in USF2000 in 2010 (with Ricky and Jordan Taylor helping the effort as driver coaches) and embarked on a six-season championship-winning streak (Taylor left the team in 2017). Jonatan Jorge joined the team as driver coach for the 2017 season, with Matthew Brabham handling the duties in the ensuing years. The Capes continued their winning ways, capturing the next three titles with Oliver Askew, Kyle Kirkwood and Braden Eves.
Cape Motorsports currently leads the USF2000 championship standings with driver Michael d’Orlando.