Dan Andersen, co-founder and co-owner of the U.S. F2000 National Championship during the 1990s, announced today that he is re-establishing that series and has reached an agreement for it to be sanctioned by the Indy Racing League, the sanctioning body for the IndyCar Series and Firestone Indy Lights championship.
The revived series for career-minded drivers of two-liter formula cars will again be called the U.S. F2000 National Championship. The series will be operated by Andersen Promotions, LLC, a new company owned by Andersen and his brother, John.
The U.S. F2000 National Championship is structured to be an entry-level step for drivers striving to reach the top ranks of open-wheel racing. Formula 2000 cars have long been an important stepping-stone for drivers wishing to pursue careers as professional racers. Some F2000 graduates include Indy 500 winners Dan Wheldon, Buddy Rice and Sam Hornish Jr.
"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, president of competition and racing operations for the Indy Racing League. "We couldn't have found a better partner to help us achieve that goal than Dan Andersen, who has demonstrated a commitment to developing young, talented drivers through his own racing team and his leadership in resurrecting the successful U.S. F2000 National Championship."
Andersen said an attractive schedule and rules, cost-containment, an even playing field, a professional operation and support from promoters, marketing partners and the media will be vital to the success of the revitalized series. He envisions a 12-race schedule for 2010. Some events will be doubleheaders, so seven or eight racing weekends are planned.
Road courses and street courses will make up the bulk of the schedule, but two oval-track events are also being contemplated. The races will be 50 miles in length. "My participation in the F2000 series definitely helped develop my racing and was an important step on the path to achieving my dream of winning the Indianapolis 500 and the IndyCar championship," said Wheldon. "It was an encouraging time, and proved to be a great career move."
Many cars currently competing in other F2000 and Formula Continental series will be eligible to compete in the new U.S. F2000 National Championship in its initial season. Chassis, engine and tire specifications and a rulebook are currently being developed. Information on their availability will be posted as soon as possible on the new series' Web site, F2000.com.
"F2000 has always been a great class, and I've long felt it is the best entry-level pro series from both a budget and competition point of view," Andersen said. "What we did in the nineties worked very well, and with my recent experience as a team owner, I think we can do even better in providing a structure that works for the teams as well as the drivers. The time is right for a return of the U.S. F2000 National Championship."
That timing includes ongoing uncertainty about the future of the Atlantic Championship, which struggled this season with grids of 10 cars.