By Steve Wittich
After a nine-year hiatus, Firestone and INDYCAR have announced that the Akron, Ohio manufacturer will return to become the sole tire for the Indy Lights series in 2023. The announcement came at the grand opening of Firestone’s Advanced Tire Production Cente as part of an expanded partnership with INDYCAR.
“We look forward to expanding our partnership with INDYCAR to supply tires for Indy Lights starting in 2023,” said Lisa Boggs, Director of Motorsports, Bridgestone Americas. “We know the importance this series has for technology advancement and driver development and are proud to be a part of the journey.”
Bridgestone brands Firestone and Dayton supplied tires for the top rung of the Road To Indy for 23 seasons between 1991 and 2013. Goodyear was the tire supplier for the first five seasons, while Cooper joined the series in 2014 and is in their ninth season with Indy Lights.
“We want to thank Cooper Tires, who has been a partner with Indy Lights since 2014,” said Indy Lights Director Levi Jones. “Their assistance while INDYCAR assumed operational control was crucial to our success. With Firestone, we cannot wait to begin this new era, which will align the entire INDYCAR paddock and help our rising stars reach their goal of competing in the NTT INDYCAR SERIES.”
The Indy Lights teams and drivers have had closer integration with INDYCAR in 2022, including paddocking with NTT INDYCAR SERIES and receiving marketing support from Penske Entertainment. Partnering with Firestone adds to that integration.
“Firestone continues to be a phenomenal partner,” said INDYCAR President Jay Frye. “We are proud to see that our relationship is expanding into supplying tires for both of our series. Their attention to detail, safety and performance is unmatched. Supplying their world-class product to the NTT INDYCAR SERIES and Indy Lights reflects Firestone’s commitment to INDYCAR’s present and future.”
The premier American junior open-wheel series began life in 1986 as the American Racing Series and has produced 34 Indy car race winners.
Those 34 American Racing Series/Indy Lights graduates have won 267 Indy car races since Paul Tracy became the first graduate to win a race in 1993. Six-time NTT INDYCAR SERIES champion Scott Dixon is the most successful of the Indy Lights alumni. The 2000 series champion has won an astounding 51 Indy car races and trails only A.J. Foyt and Mario Andretti on the all-time list.
Recent Indy Lights graduates that have won an NTT INDYCAR SERIES race include Colton Herta, Felix Rosenqvist, Rinus van Kalmthout (VeeKay), and Pato O’Ward.
HMD Motorsports veteran Linus Lundqvist currently leads the points as Indy Lights heads to the Mid-Ohio Sports Car Course. You can the eighth race of the season at 10:35 am (Eastern) on Peacock Premium or the INDYCAR Radio Network at Indycar.com or the INDYCAR App powered by NTT DATA.