The Road to Indy presented by Cooper Tires has added Circuit of the Americas and a return to WeatherTech Raceway Laguna Seca to its 2019 schedule that was announced Tuesday.
The INDYCAR-sanctioned development ladder provides a clear path for drivers, teams and crew members to reach the IndyCar Series. Event weekends in all three levels of the Road to Indy will be run in conjunction with IndyCar Series events in 2019.
“Assembling next year’s schedule was the hardest it has been in recent years and that’s because we have too many options, which is a nice problem to have,” said Dan Andersen, owner and CEO of Andersen Promotions that operates the Road to Indy. “We want to be cognizant of team budgets and also have a well-rounded platform for our drivers alongside key markets for series, team and driver sponsors and partners.
“I am happy with our final blend of events and want to thank all of the promoters for working with us. Portland was a great event this year, and we look forward to returning to WeatherTech Raceway Laguna Seca and adding what will be a tremendous outing at Circuit of The Americas.”
Indy Lights presented by Cooper Tires, the top rung of the Road to Indy ladder, will contest 18 races over 10 races weekends. The Pro Mazda Championship presented by Cooper Tires, the middle level, has 16 races on nine weekends scheduled. The Cooper Tires USF2000 Championship, the entry level for Road to Indy, will conduct 15 races at eight events.
Each series opens its season on the streets of St. Petersburg, Florida, from March 8-10, as part of the Firestone Grand Prix of St. Petersburg weekend for the IndyCar Series. The season finale for the Road to Indy will take place on the same weekend as the IndyCar Series finale, Sept. 20-22 at WeatherTech Raceway Laguna Seca near Monterey, California.
All three Road to Indy series schedules include a mix of temporary street courses, permanent road circuits and ovals, to help drivers and teams prepare for the day that they compete in the IndyCar Series that offers the most diverse and challenging schedule in motorsports.
Indy Lights will race on two ovals, including the highlight event of the season, the Freedom 100 on May 24 at Indianapolis Motor Speedway that runs two days before the 103rd Indianapolis 500. Pro Mazda and USF2000 also race May 24 on the short oval at nearby Lucas Oil Raceway. Indy Lights and Pro Mazda will also race on the Gateway Motorsports Park oval in late August.
Doubleheader race weekends will be contested at Road to Indy events on all levels at road and street courses.
On Aug. 1, INDYCAR and Andersen Promotions announced a five-year plan to increase team and driver participation in Indy Lights. In addition to an increased champion’s purse of $1.1 million built on a three-race IndyCar Series program including the 2020 Indianapolis 500, a reduction in entrant budgets was unveiled alongside revised INDYCAR driver licensing guidelines and an expansion of the IndyCar Series testing program.
Details on the full prize packages for each series – including the champion’s scholarships to advance to Pro Mazda and Indy Lights – are currently being finalized and will be announced soon.
“We have a great platform in place, but we always want to be better, and we will be looking at ways to improve for 2019,” Andersen said. “Adding Jonny Baker as our new series development director was a first step. We are also working hard on the sponsorship side for a new partner to entitle the Road to Indy.
“There really is no offseason in racing and this one will be busier than usual for everyone at Andersen Promotions, but we welcome and look forward to the challenge and the opportunities that lie ahead. We have the full support of Jay Frye and his team at INDYCAR, and I feel the Road to Indy will be back stronger than ever next year.”
The Road to Indy just completed its eighth annual Chris Griffis Memorial Open Test at the IMS road course. Another open test is scheduled at the Homestead-Miami Speedway road course on Dec. 3-4. The spring training open test at Homestead is set for March 2-4, 2019, a week before the season openers.
The full schedules for each season are below: