Indy Lights cars to ride on Cooper Tires instead of Firestone Andersen Promotions, which will license and operate the final step on the Mazda Road to Indy in 2014, today announced that Cooper Tires will become the Official Tire of the new Indy Lights Series. The five-year agreement will continue through the 2018 season with extension options. Cooper Tires will now be the Official Tire of the entire ladder system with partnerships already in place for the first two rungs of the ladder also run by Andersen Promotions – the Cooper Tires USF2000 Championship Powered by Mazda and the Pro Mazda Championship Presented by Cooper Tires – providing continuity to drivers as they make their climb toward the IZOD IndyCar Series.
“I couldn’t be more pleased and proud to announce that Cooper Tires will be the Official Tire of Indy Lights,” said Dan Andersen, Owner and CEO of Andersen Promotions. “Cooper has been a terrific partner of both USF2000 and Pro Mazda and to carry that relationship into Indy Lights gives us a fantastic foundation to build upon. It is rare in today’s motorsports climate to have the luxury of a long-term partnership, and for Cooper Tires to step up its commitment across all three levels of the Mazda Road to Indy is just phenomenal. I can’t thank Chris Pantani and everyone at Cooper Tires enough. Their commitment to the future talent in our sport is unprecedented.
“Tony Cotman, our project manager, and I reviewed numerous proposals from other tire manufacturers and were delighted to see so much interest, but Cooper Tires ticked all the boxes. We wanted a partner that would provide a great product with substantial cost savings for teams and, while the final cost is yet to be determined, the Cooper Tires Indy Lights tires will cost the teams significantly less than their current tire prices. Equally important, we wanted a partner that would actively promote and support the series, and our partnership comes with substantial support from Cooper Tires in event activation, series media and promotional efforts.”
Today’s announcement comes on the heels of a recently publicized decision to utilize an updated Indy Lights car in 2014 and debut a brand-new race car in 2015. The new tire component coupled with chassis updates will offer greater parity amongst competitors next season. Tire testing will begin in September, and road course tires will be available to teams in late October. An engine partner will be announced within 30 days.
“We are pleased not only to expand our sponsorship of the Mazda Road to Indy development series, but with our continued partnership with Andersen Promotions,” stated Chris Pantani, Director of Event Management, Sponsorships and Motorsports for Cooper Tire. “Being a part of a driver’s career path and assisting with their development through each step of the Mazda Road to Indy is what Cooper Tire strongly supports and values.”
In addition to supporting the Mazda Road to Indy, the Findlay-based manufacturer headlines the Cooper Tires Prototype Lites Championship Powered by Mazda development series and is a supplier to teams in the TORC Series and GRC (Global Rallycross). Cooper Tire is also an official partner and sponsor of Professional Bull Riders, Inc. (PBR).
“I would like to acknowledge and thank Firestone for all of their contributions and support to upcoming talent the past 20-plus years,” added Andersen. “A vast majority of today’s top drivers are graduates of Firestone Indy Lights, and that speaks volumes.”