Firestone replaces Cooper Tire as sponsor of the rebranded Indy Lights Series from 2023. It will be known as Indy NXT
The announcement of IndyCar’s ladder series will be made Thursday, Nov. 3, at noon EST in Indianapolis.
The Junior Series is the final rung of a development ladder created to help young drivers enter the NTT IndyCar Series.
NXT represents “Next” without the “e” as a way to market it to a new generation of fans and riders.
“We look forward to being part of the journey as Indy NXT enters a new era and expands our partnership with IndyCar,” said Lisa Boggs, Director of Motorsport, Bridgestone Americas. “Having competed in the series before, we know how important it is for the development of the next generation of drivers, and we are proud to support them again.
“Indy NXT gives Firestone the opportunity to engage with new audiences and develop and showcase our technology.”
Firestone is also the sole tire supplier for the NTT IndyCar Series, continuing a long-standing relationship between the tire company, IndyCar, Indianapolis Motor Speedway and the Indianapolis 500.
“Indy NXT by Firestone will continue to develop and train new generations
of racers ready to engage in breathtaking, high-stakes competition,” said IndyCar President Jay Frye. “Firestone is the perfect partner in this endeavor, with its innovative technology and genuine appreciation for Indy NXT and its vast potential.”
The roots of the series can be traced back to CART in late 1986 when it was originally called the American Racing Series. It was renamed Indy Lights in the 1990s and remained part of CART until 2001.
When the rival Indy Racing League was formed in 1996, it attempted to funnel drivers through the United States Auto Club (USAC) pipeline. But in 2002, IRL created the Infiniti Pro series, similar to CART’s feeder series.
When the Champ Car series and the IRL unified in 2008, the Infiniti Pro series was renamed Indy Lights – the current series which was renamed Indy NXT.
Andersen Promotions of Palmetto, Florida took over promotion of the series while it was still part of the IndyCar sanction. Current IndyCar owner Roger Penske has decided to bring the Indy Lights series back to IndyCar at the end of 2021.
Beginning with the 2022 season, IndyCar took over management and operations of the development series.
This included a collaborative partnership with the NTT IndyCar Series, including integration into paddock spaces, marketing, digital assets and race umpiring.
Andersen Promotions announced last month that it was dropping the “Road to Indy” brand and replacing it with USF Juniors. This series includes Cooper Tires as a sponsor and includes the USF Pro 2000, USF2000 and USF Juniors series.
After an expansion of teams and number of cars in 2022, the 2023 season is set to build on that momentum, with the highest entry list for the development series since 2009.
The 2023 Indy NXT by Firestone Championship will be held at the same tracks and weekends as the NTT IndyCar Series events, providing additional exposure to the series.
As in 2022, the schedule consists of three dual weekends: the road course at Indianapolis Motor Speedway, Streets of Detroit and WeatherTech Raceway Laguna Seca, where the 2023 Indy NXT Champion will be crowned.
Additionally, coverage of all 14 races will once again be available in the United States via Peacock, NBCUniversal’s streaming service and the IndyCar Radio Network.
Start times for the 2023 Indy NXT by Firestone season will be announced at a later date.
The rebranded racing series will hold 14 races in 2023, starting March 5 on the streets of St. Petersburg and competing on a diverse set of ovals, road courses and street circuits.
2023 Indy NXT Calendar by Firestone
Sunday, March 5 — Streets of St. Petersburg, Peacock
Sunday, April 30 — Barber Motorsports Park, Peacock
Friday, May 12 – Indianapolis Motor Speedway Road Course Race 1, Peacock
Saturday, May 13 – Indianapolis Motor Speedway Road Course Race 2, Peacock
Saturday, June 3 – Streets of Detroit Race 1, Peacock
Sunday, June 4 – Streets of Detroit Race 2, Peacock
Sunday, June 18 – Road America, Peacock
Sunday July 2 – Mid Ohio Sports Car Course, Peacock
Saturday July 22 – Iowa Speedway, Peacock
Sunday August 6 – Streets of Nashville, Peacock
Sunday August 27 – World Wide Technology Raceway, Peacock
Sunday September 3 – Portland International Raceway, Peacock
Saturday, September 9 – WeatherTech Raceway Laguna Seca Race 1, Peacock
Sunday September 10 – WeatherTech Raceway Laguna Seca Race 2, Peacock