FINDLAY, Ohio (Nov.17, 2009)—Cooper Tire & Rubber Co. will be the presenting sponsor and exclusive tire supplier for the revived U.S. F2000 National Championship, resurrecting a partnership with a racing series that once bore the name Cooper Tire Championship Series.
Findlay-based Cooper will provide slick and rain tires co-branded Cooper/F2000 for the series' entrants, along with trackside mounting service and tire engineering support at each race and test.
The Indy Racing League L.L.C., sanctioning body for the IndyCar Series and Firestone Indy Lights, has agreed to sanction this series as well.
The parties did not disclose the value of the contract, but Cooper said it will present the winner of each race's pole position with $500, which will be called the “Cooper Tires, Don't Give Up a Thing Award.”
U.S. F2000 cars are single-seat, open-wheel racers powered by 2-liter engines. The revived series is being operated by Andersen Promotions L.L.C., a new company owned by Dan Andersen, founder of the original U.S. F2000 series in the early 1990s, and his brother, John.
The original U.S. F2000 series was a popular entry-level road-racing series in the 1990s and into this century until it folded after the 2006 season. From 2004 to 2006 it was known as the Cooper Tires Championship Series featuring Ford Zetec 2000-powered formula cars. Prior to that Cooper supported the series for three years with its Avon-brand race tires.
Indianapolis 500 winners Dan Wheldon, Buddy Rice and Sam Hornish Jr. all raced in U.S. F2000 before graduating to higher level professional racing.
“Creating an entry-level series where teams and drivers can learn and develop in a professional environment is important to the future of American open-wheel racing,” said Brian Barnhart, the IRL's president of competition and racing operations.
Andersen envisions a 12-race schedule for 2010 spread out over seven or eight race weekends. Road courses and street courses will make up the bulk of the schedule, but two oval-track events are also being contemplated. Races will be 50 miles in length.
Teams will be able to buy a minimum of three sets of tires per car at each event, with a minimum of four sets of tires per car available at official test dates, Cooper said.
The U.S. F2000 series is not affiliated with or to be confused with the Pacific F2000 or the Sports Car Club of America's F2000 series. The former runs races in California and Nevada with Hankook Tire America Corp. as its tire supplier, while the latter is supported by Hoosier Racing Tire Corp.