The IndyCar-owned Indy Lights series will end its longstanding partnership with Cooper Tires and return to Firestone as its sole provider next season. The move comes after a recent test of Firestone tires on the Dallara IL15-AER chassis, which led to the anticipated switch in vendors.
“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.”
Since its formation in 1986 as the American Racing Series, Indy Lights has experienced its fair share of change among tire service providers and brand names. Cooper Tires’ parent company Goodyear was the first to look after the March-Buick ARS cars from 1986-1990, with Firestone serving as the second tire supplier for the renamed Indy Lights taking over from 1991-2013 across CART, Indy Racing League and IndyCar ownership; its sub-brand Dayton was also used at one point. Cooper took the reins in 2014 when Firestone withdrew from the series, giving it all three tiers of the Road To Indy with USF2000, Pro Mazda (now Indy Pro 2000) and Lights on its tires.
“We look forward to expanding our partnership with IndyCar to supply tires for Indy Lights starting in 2023,” said Lisa Boggs, Bridgestone Americas’ director of motorsports. “We know the importance this series has for technology advancement and driver development and are proud to be a part of the journey.”
Under new series ownership led by Roger Penske, the tires used on top step of the RTI starting in 2023 will be aligned with IndyCar’s use of Firestone as its sole supplier while Cooper will maintain its supply of the Andersen Promotions-owned USF Juniors, USF2000 and Indy Pro 2000 series.
“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.”