IRL launches 'Road to Indy' ladder
|By Matt Beer
||Thursday, December 10th 2009, 20:19 GMT
The Indy Racing League has created a unified 'Road to Indy' branding for the IndyCar Series' feeder championships and will develop new links between USF2000, Star Mazda, Indy Lights and top-level IndyCar racing.
Indy Lights is already officiated by the IRL, which will now also take charge of USF2000. All three junior championships will be promoted alongside IndyCar and more opportunities will be created for drivers to move up the ladder.
IRL president of competition Brian Barnhart said it was vital to ensure closer links between IndyCar and the feeder categories.
"In creating the 'Road to Indy', we are trying to bridge the gap between the premier open-wheel racing divisions and the entry level open-wheel series by creating a clear career path for aspiring racing drivers," he said.
"With the 'Road to Indy', a driver has the opportunity to hone his professional racing skills at an early stage of his or her career and has a chance to build upon those skills in a professional environment while driving similar-style open-wheel racing vehicles on similar tracks at every step."
Star Mazda and USF2000 will also become part of the Indianapolis 500 month, with both holding rounds at Indianapolis' O'Reilly Raceway Park as part of the 'Night Before the 500' event on race weekend Saturday.
The only other times that all four championship will race together will be St Petersburg and Iowa, with Star Mazda and USF2000 otherwise continuing to follow separate calendars to Indy Lights and IndyCar.