[Source: Firestone Racing press release]
NASHVILLE, Tenn. (December 21, 2012) – Bridgestone Americas Tire Operations, LLC (Bridgestone Americas) and INDYCAR announced today that Bridgestone Americas’ Firestone brand will remain the sole tire supplier to the IZOD IndyCar Series through the 2018 race season.
“Firestone performance and safety have been synonymous with IndyCar racing for more than 100 years,” said Al Speyer, executive director, Firestone Racing. “We are excited about the opportunity to continue the ongoing success of this series by extending the Firestone brand’s history in the sport through the 2018 season. We treasure the relationships we have fostered with the league, drivers, owners and various other partners involved with the sport through the years, and look forward to continuing our legacy of high performance for which Firestone tires are known.”
Firestone has supplied tires to the IZOD IndyCar Series since the league began in 1996, and this announcement confirms the Firestone brand’s participation in the 100th running of the prestigious Indianapolis 500-Mile Race in 2016. As part of the partnership extension, the Firestone brand will increase its commitment to and investments in the series to help maximize the growth potential of the series.
“The Firestone brand’s significant contributions to IZOD IndyCar Series racing are the result of more than 100 years of experience competing in this sport, most recently as part of a continuous 22-year partnership,” said Jeff Belskus, interim president and CEO, INDYCAR. “The agreement expands our opportunity to continue working together to provide on-track excitement for our fans and grow the sport through coordinated and consistent off-track promotions. This is an important relationship for both Firestone and INDYCAR and we are very pleased to continue the association.”
The expanded agreement begins in 2014, and includes tires and technical support, investments in advertising, event promotions, at-track signage, hospitality, race title sponsorships and other programs. Specific details of the agreement and relationship will be announced next year. The title sponsorship and official tire status of the Firestone Indy Lights series will run through 2013.
“Our partnership with the IZOD IndyCar Series is based on mutual respect and benefit to all parties. Our agreement to move forward together is a manifestation of the business value we both realize from this partnership as well as the legacy of safety and performance that we have built together over a century of experience,” said Speyer. “We are proud to continue our tradition of exceptional support for the IndyCar Series. One of our future aims is to help grow interest, so we look forward to welcoming a new generation of fans to the sport while at the same time energizing the existing loyal fan base. Fans are the true end customer for both INDYCAR and Firestone, and their engagement is fundamental to our mutual future success.”
The IZOD IndyCar Series 2013 schedule includes 16 tracks with “double-header” races at Belle Isle Park in Detroit; in Toronto, Canada; and at Reliant Park in Houston, Texas. In addition to the partnership with the IZOD IndyCar Series, the Firestone brand will be the official tire of the race season kick-off, the Honda Grand Prix of St. Petersburg in St. Petersburg, Fla., and the Toyota Grand Prix of Long Beach in Long Beach, Calif. In keeping with tradition, Firestone will remain the Official Tire of the Indianapolis 500-Mile Race. Firestone also will continue as the title sponsor of the Firestone 550 at Texas Motor Speedway in June.