A multi-year agreement between IndyCar and Andersen Promotions to license and operate Firestone Indy Lights beginning in 2014 is expected to provide strategic and operational synergies within the Mazda Road to Indy ladder system.
Dan Andersen, owner and CEO of Andersen Promotions, and IndyCar president of competition and operations Derrick Walker made the joint announcement at a news conference.
Andersen Promotions, based in Florida, 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,” Walker said. “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."
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.
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.
Andersen said there will be updates to the car for the 2014 season and a new car for '15. He briefed IZOD IndyCar Series team owners July 11 about the move and benefits of engaging in the Mazda Road to Indy.
"Mechanics, engineers, we train all types of people to move up," he said. "Sponsors and teams also can jump into a junior program and grow with the sport. It's much more than a training program for drivers."
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.
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