AKRON — Bridgestone Americas Inc. has agreed to become the race tire supplier for the Indy Lights open-wheel racing series, starting in 2023, replacing Cooper Tire & Rubber, which has been the supplier since 2014.
The contract with IndyCar L.L.C. calls for Bridgestone to supply Firestone-brand race tires the Indy Lights series, which serves as the second-tier "feeder" series to Indy Car, which is considered the top open-wheel racing series in North America.
Financial terms of the deal were not disclosed. Bridgestone supplied Indy Lights with Dayton- and Firestone-brand tires for a dozen years, from 1991 through 2013.
The duration of the new contract, disclosed June 22 at the opening of Bridgestone's Advanced Tire Production Center in Akron, was not disclosed.
Indy Lights Series features single-seat, open-wheel chassis supplied by Dallara Automobili powered by turbocharged 2-liter inline four-cylinder racing engines based on a Mazda block and mated to a 6-speed sequential semi-automatic gearbox.
Indy Lights is considered the third rung on the Road to Indy driver promotion ladder, where aspiring IndyCar drivers are able to compete on the same race courses as IndyCar with slightly lower powered cars.
"Firestone continues to be a phenomenal partner," IndyCar President Jay Frye said.
"We are proud to see that our relationship is expanding into supplying tires for both of our series. Their attention to detail, safety and performance is unmatched. Supplying their world-class product to the NTT IndyCar Series and Indy Lights reflects Firestone's commitment to IndyCar's present and future."
Lisa Boggs, director of motorsports, Bridgestone Americas, added: "We look forward to expanding our partnership with IndyCar to supply tires for Indy Lights starting in 2023.
"We know the importance this series has for technology advancement and driver development and are proud to be a part of the journey."
Indy Lights Director Levi Jones thanked Cooper Tire for its involvement with Indy Lights for the past nine seasons.
"Their assistance while IndyCar assumed operational control was crucial to our success. With Firestone, we cannot wait to begin this new era, which will align the entire IndyCar paddock and help our rising stars reach their goal of competing in the NTT IndyCar Series."
Cooper's exiting the Indy Lights scene comes a year after Goodyear acquired the Findlay, Ohio-based company.