IndyCar confirmed Friday in Toronto that it has entered into a multi-year agreement with Dan Andersen's Andersen Promotions organization to license and operate the Firestone Indy Lights Championship, beginning in 2014.
Andersen Promotions, based in Florida, currently owns and operates the first two rungs of the Mazda Road to Indy -- the Cooper Tires USF2000 Championship Powered by Mazda and Pro Mazda Championship Presented by Cooper Tires.
"This is a positive move for our sport," said Derrick Walker, IndyCar president of competition and operations. "A strong and relevant training system is important to develop the next generation of IndyCar drivers.
"Firestone Indy Lights will be more closely aligned with its developmental series already operated by Andersen Promotions and will be positioned for growth to continue to meet the goal of preparing up-and-coming race drivers for the rigors of the IZOD IndyCar Series. Today's announcement will create more consistency as drivers and teams advance up from USF2000 to Pro Mazda and Firestone Indy Lights, all under the leadership of Andersen Promotions," Walker added.
Andersen Promotions will direct on-track activity utilizing IndyCar personnel at shared venues as well as the race director at all events. Andersen Promotions will be the primary contact for all business, marketing and promotional operations with continued IndyCar support.
"The history of Firestone Indy Lights is so impressive with dozens of drivers graduating to IZOD IndyCar Series careers over the years," said Dan Andersen. "I am honored to be given the opportunity to step in and steer the course for the future.
"Our model for operating development programs appears to be well-received by teams and drivers, and I am fortunate to have a strong staff in place. We believe in the Mazda Road to Indy, and are grateful that IndyCar has chosen to continue its support for years to come."
IndyCar affirmed that Firestone Indy Lights will run up to 12 race events per year, with the goal of 10 in conjunction with the IZOD IndyCar Series. IndyCar will work with its television partners to ensure broadcast continuity, and will continue to support the scholarship for the Firestone Indy Lights champion to compete full time in the IZOD IndyCar Series.
In preparation for the 2014 season, Andersen Promotions has launched a new stand-alone website for Firestone Indy Lights at www.indylights.com
, which will run alongside continued coverage for the series at www.indycar.com.