The Verizon IndyCar Series has outlined a five year plan for the Indy Lights presented by Cooper Tires feeder category to America’s premier single seater series.
The five year plan has four key points:
- A reduction in budgets for entrants;
- An increase in prize money paid to competitors;
- Revised INDYCAR driver licensing guidelines;
- Expansion of the Verizon IndyCar Series testing program.
Highlights of the cost savings plan include a reduction in new chassis pricing, a spare parts discount to new teams, a discount on Cooper tires and a reduction in engine lease pricing.
The increase in race prize money includes $50,000 to win the Freedom 100 at Indianapolis Motor Speedway, in addition to an increase in payout for the top three finishers at every event. The season champion’s prize will be increased to $1.1 million built on a three-race Verizon IndyCar Series package for the following season that includes the Indianapolis 500.
Indy Lights remains the integral path to the Verizon IndyCar Series. Drivers may apply for a Verizon IndyCar Series license by meeting one of several new criteria, including a top-three finish in the Indy Lights season championship. Drivers who complete two full Indy Lights seasons can earn the license by finishing in the top five of the standings.
The introduction of an Indy Lights team incentive program will be designed to encourage Verizon IndyCar Series teams to participate. With suppliers participating, new Indy Lights entries can save more than $100,000.
New teams for the 2019 season will see significant savings on offseason testing, including free entry to a two-day test at the Mid-Ohio Sports Car Course, new Motegi Racing wheels at no charge and six free sets of Cooper tires.
The news comes following the announcement that Mazda have ended their involvement in the Mazda Road To Indy.