Penske Entertainment has conducted a private tire test for its Indy Lights series that portends change could be coming to the top step of the Road to Indy.
RACER understands the test was recently held on the 1.25-mile World Wide Technology Raceway oval in Madison, Ill., where the Roger Penske-owned series sampled tires made by its NTT IndyCar Series partner Firestone.
Every step on the Road to Indy Ladder, starting with the Andersen Promotions-owned USF Juniors, USF2000 and Indy Pro 2000, along with Penske’s Indy Lights, have relied upon Ohio’s Cooper Tires for more than a decade as the exclusive provider for the American open-wheel training system.
“IndyCar asked Firestone to participate in an on-track test with Andretti Autosport as part of their evaluation of the Indy Lights series,” a Firestone Racing representative told RACER. “As always, we are willing to work collaboratively with the series as they determine the future direction. This does not affect our current role as sole tire supplier for the NTT IndyCar Series.”
On a related note, Cooper Tires is also known to have a new oval tire in the works for the Indy Lights series which is meant to undergo its first tests in June.
With Penske Entertainment taking control of the series during the offseason, new management has been installed with Levi Jones placed at the top of the Indy Lights organization. Rumors of more changes, including new tire and engine vendors for the series, have lingered since the handover from Andersen Promotions was completed.
RACER also understands that if a change in Indy Lights tire suppliers is made, it would be isolated to that series and would not affect the ongoing relationship between Cooper Tires and USF Juniors, USF2000 or Indy Pro 2000.