Bridgestone renews support of Indy Lights series
INDIANAPOLIS (Jan. 9, 2012)—Bridgestone Americas has agreed to continue supplying Firestone race tires to the Indy Racing League's Indy Lights IndyCar support series for the 2012 season.
The agreement is a reversal of Bridgestone's decision in March 2011 to end its support of the series—known officially as Firestone Indy Lights—after the 2011 season when it renegotiated its Indy Car race tire supply contract for the 2012-13 seasons with IRL officials.
Terms of the deal, which for now cover only the 2012 season, were not disclosed. The parties continue to negotiate the possibility of Firestone´s returning as series sponsor as well, according to Bridgestone.
The Indy Lights series is considered the top rung of the Mazda Road to Indy development system, a program that seeks to foster young drivers through entry-level-type racing series and then progressing them into higher-powered classes.
2011 Indy Lights Champion Josef Newgarden, for example, recently signed to become Sarah Fisher Racing's driver in the IndyCar Series this year.
Indy Lights is a spec series using a modified 3.5-liter version of an Infiniti V8 engine in a Dallara chassis, producing about 420 horsepower.
The IRL has scheduled 12 races in 2012, seven on temporary street circuits, one on a permanent road course, three on ovals and one still to be disclosed. The series starts March 24-25 on the streets of St. Petersburg, Fla., and ends Sept. 15 at Auto Club Speedway in Fontana, Calif.
All the races run together with the IndyCar Series, except for the Aug. 5 race on the streets of Trois Rivieres, Quebec, when the Indy Lights series will be the premier event at a three-day race festival.