Confirming an Indianapolis Star report of a few weeks ago, Andersen Promotions has bought and taken over the Firestone Indy Lights Series from INDYCAR. The change was announced Friday at the Honda Indy Toronto by INDYCAR president of competition and operations Derrick Walker and Andersen CEO and owner Dan Andersen.
Andersen also runs the USF2000 and Pro Mazda championships, two other rungs on the Mazda Road to Indy ladder. The move brings all three rungs of the ladder in house, under one roof.
“The history of Firestone Indy Lights is so impressive with dozens of drivers graduating to IZOD IndyCar Series careers over the years,” Andersen said. “I am honored to be given the opportunity to step in and steer the course for the future.
A Florida-based entrepreneur and developer, Andersen has worked to control and cut costs within the ladder series. USF2000 in particular has been on the upswing from a car count standpoint, nearing or exceeding 30 between Championship and National class cars on road and street course races this year, with car counts in the 20s for the oval race at Lucas Oil Raceway Park at Indianapolis last month.
“Our model for operating development programs appears to be well-received by teams and drivers, and I am fortunate to have a strong staff in place. We believe in the Mazda Road to Indy, and are grateful that INDYCAR has chosen to continue its support for years to come.”
In preparation for the 2014 season, Andersen Promotions has launched a new stand-alone website for Firestone Indy Lights at www.indylights.com, which will run alongside continued coverage for the series at www.indycar.com. A new Twitter page, @IndyLights, has also been launched.
Gabby Chaves is set to return to the IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship at Watkins Glen International later this month.
The Columbian-American driver, who last competed in IMSA in 2016 – with the DeltaWing outfit – will sub for the injured Joao Barbosa – he hurt his wrist in a cycling accident earlier in June – in the No. 5 Mustang Sampling Racing Cadillac DPi-V.R in the Sahlen’s Six Hours of the Glen.
Chaves will partner Filipe Albuquerque and Christian Fittipaldi in the No. 5 Cadillac.
Chaves expressed gratitude for being asked to fill in, but kept his enthusiasm muted, noting that he is getting the opportunity ultimately because another driver got hurt.
“The first thing is of course that you never want to have an opportunity because someone got hurt, so this is an unfortunate circumstance with Joao having his injury,”said Chaves. “But I appreciate the opportunity to join the championship-leading team. Mustang Sampling Racing has had a strong start this year and hopefully I can help the team continue to have those kinds of results.”
Chaves added, “I love Watkins Glen, it is a great track and I am looking forward to racing the Cadillac Prototype there. I’m excited to be going back to endurance racing. With different classes all racing at the same time, there is a lot for the driver to deal with as you work through traffic. So I am looking forward to racing at the Glen again, and I really appreciate this opportunity with Mustang Sampling Racing.”
Chaves’ most recent IMSA event was the 2016 Sahlen’s Six Hours of the Glen, when he finished seventh in the Prototype class.
The No. 5 Action Express Cadillac currently sits tied with the sister No. 31 Whelen Engineer Racing Cadillac of Eric Curran and Felipe Nasr atop the IMSA standings, though Barbosa’s hopes of a driver’s championship are set to take an enormous hit with him missing Watkins Glen.