IndyCar Looks to Indy NXT by Firestone to Freshen Up Indy Lights Series

IndyCar organizers hope rebranded Lights Series will include bigger car counts, new look and feel for the brand.

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The Indy Lights Series is getting a facelift.

The IndyCar-owned development series is being rebranded beginning in 2023 as Indy NXT by Firestone. The tire manufacturer and long-time partner of the NTT IndyCar Series will also become the official tire supplier of the Indy NXT series.

In making the announcement on Thursday, IndyCar announced a 14-race schedule for the formerly named Indy Lights Series. The series will race on ovals, road courses and street circuits as a support series on the same weekend as the NTT IndyCar Series events.

Indy Lights began as a development series for Championship Auto Racing Teams (CART) in 1986.

“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 motorsports, Bridgestone Americas, in a release. “Having been in the series previously, 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 provides opportunities for Firestone to engage with new audiences and develop and showcase our technology.”

IndyCar took over the Indy Lights development series beginning with the 2022 season. Car counts were up from previous years, but the series still featured just 11 drivers who completed in the full 14-race schedule this past season. IndyCar is expecting car counts near 20 in 2023. That would give the series is largest car count since 2009, when the series averaged 19.8 cars on the grid per race.

The 2023 schedule will include three doubleheader weekends: the Indianapolis Motor Speedway road course, Streets of Detroit, and the season-ending races at WeatherTech Raceway Laguna Seca. All 14 Indy NXT races will be broadcast on the NBC Peacock streaming service.

Mike Pryson Mike Pryson covered auto racing for the Jackson (Mich.) Citizen Patriot and MLive Media Group from 1991 until joining Autoweek in 2011.

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