TORONTO (Friday, July 12, 2013) IndyCar Media – INDYCAR, the sanctioning body of the Mazda Road to Indy ladder system, announced today that it has entered into an agreement for Andersen Promotions to license and operate Firestone Indy Lights beginning in 2014.
The multi-year agreement provides strategic and operational synergies for Firestone Indy Lights, an essential training ground for drivers and teams that seek to compete in the IZOD IndyCar Series and Indianapolis 500.
Andersen Promotions, based in Florida, currently owns and operates the first two rungs of the Mazda Road to Indy – the Cooper Tires USF2000 Championship Powered by Mazda and Pro Mazda Championship Presented by Cooper Tires.
“This is a positive move for our sport,” said Derrick Walker, president of competition and operations, INDYCAR. “A strong and relevant training system is important to develop the next generation of INDYCAR drivers.
“Firestone Indy Lights will be more closely aligned with its developmental series already operated by Andersen Promotions and will be positioned for growth to continue to meet the goal of preparing up-and-coming race drivers for the rigors of the IZOD IndyCar Series. Today’s announcement will create more consistency as drivers and teams advance up from USF2000 to Pro Mazda and Firestone Indy Lights, all under the leadership of Andersen Promotions,” added Walker.
Andersen Promotions will direct on-track activity utilizing INDYCAR personnel at shared venues as well as the race director at all events. Andersen Promotions will be the primary contact for all business, marketing and promotional operations with continued INDYCAR support.
“The history of Firestone Indy Lights is so impressive with dozens of drivers graduating to IZOD IndyCar Series careers over the years,” said Dan Andersen, Owner and CEO of Andersen Promotions. “I am honored to be given the opportunity to step in and steer the course for the future.
“Our model for operating development programs appears to be well-received by teams and drivers, and I am fortunate to have a strong staff in place. We believe in the Mazda Road to Indy, and are grateful that INDYCAR has chosen to continue its support for years to come.”
Firestone Indy Lights will run up to 12 race events per year, with the goal of 10 in conjunction with the IZOD IndyCar Series. INDYCAR will work with its television partners to ensure broadcast continuity, and will continue to support the scholarship for the Firestone Indy Lights champion to compete full time in the IZOD IndyCar Series.
In preparation for the 2014 season, Andersen Promotions has launched a new stand-alone website for Firestone Indy Lights at www.indylights.com, which will run alongside continued coverage for the series at www.indycar.com.
Tristan Vautier and Josef Newgarden, the past two Firestone Indy Lights champions, are among the graduates of the program currently competing in the IZOD IndyCar Series.
ABOUT ANDERSEN PROMOTIONS: Andersen Promotions has a long and successful background in promoting open-wheel championships and has also owned multiple race teams, including a Firestone Indy Lights team, in the past. The company relaunched the Cooper Tires USF2000 Championship Powered by Mazda in 2010, which it operated from 1992 through 2001. In December of 2012, Andersen Promotions founded the Pro Mazda Championship Presented by Cooper Tires to replace the void left by the Star Mazda Series which ceased operations after 22 years.
ABOUT INDYCAR: INDYCAR is the governing body of the IZOD IndyCar Series, the premier open-wheel racing series in North America; Firestone Indy Lights, which serves as an essential stepping stone for drivers and teams striving to reach the IZOD IndyCar Series and the Mazda Road to Indy, which provides a defined career path for young drivers who aspire to compete in the IZOD IndyCar Series and Indianapolis 500. INDYCAR events are available to a worldwide audience through a variety of multimedia platforms, highlighted by long-term and broad-reaching partnerships with ABC and the NBC Sports Network. INDYCAR is continually at the forefront of motorsports innovation with drivers, teams and tracks benefiting from safety and technological improvements such as the SAFER Barrier, SWEMS wheel tethers, chassis enhancements, high-definition in-car cameras and ethanol fuel.
PHOTO CREDIT: Zach Veach (12) and Juan Pablo Garcia at Pocono – Chris Owens Photo