The Road to Indy series will enjoy enhanced scholarship prizes as the sport in the USA starts its post-Covid 19 journey – and that will include the continuation of the series’ links with the Castrol Toyota Racing Series as well as the potential to test an Indycar or secure a racing budget for a season in Indy Lights.
Following the recent news of INDYCAR’s strong commitment to Indy Lights Presented by Cooper Tires for 2021 and beyond, Andersen Promotions have confirmed significant additional support for the two junior development series of the Road to Indy Presented by Cooper Tires. Champions of the 2020 Indy Pro 2000 Championship Presented by Cooper Tires and the Cooper Tires USF2000 Championship will see an enhanced scholarship prize package to help with their ascent up the highly-acclaimed ladder system to the NTT INDYCAR SERIES.
Organisers have also confirmed drivers who have competed in all five rounds of the 2020 and 2021 Castrol Toyota Racing Series (TRS) will automatically qualify for a package that could help them get established in the programme. This will include free entry for either the annual two day spring training test or the two day Chris Griffis Memorial test along with a free set of tyres for a test in either USF2000 or Indy Pro 2000. Similarly, the top three finishers in those two Road to Indy series will receive a waived $5000 NZD entry fee for the full 2021 TRS championship.
Although adjusted due to the COVID-19 pandemic, the 2020 Indy Pro 2000 and USF2000 calendar will continue to offer a strong mix of 10 road, street and oval events totaling 18 races – the majority in support of INDYCAR, its sanctioning body.
With healthy prize packages already in place across the three series, the Indy Pro 2000 champion’s scholarship is currently valued at $609,245 USD. This will now increase to a guaranteed full season contract with an Indy Lights team of the driver’s choice. The agreement will cover all 2021 series-sanctioned race and test events from the season-opener to the finale, entry and test day fees and Cooper tires (per the allowable number of sets).
In addition, the 2020 Indy Pro 2000 champion will be awarded a test with an NTT INDYCAR SERIES team following completion of the 2021 Indy Lights season.
Similarly, the 2020 USF2000 champion will receive a scholarship valued at $328,225 USD, guaranteeing a full season contract with an Indy Pro 2000 team of the driver’s choice including all 2021 race and test events, entry and test day fees and allowable number of sets of Cooper tires. The scholarship value will be increased to include an Indy Lights test at the conclusion of the 2021 Indy Pro 2000 season.
“2020 has been a very unsettled season for all of motorsports and for the Road to Indy in particular in our 10th anniversary year,” said Dan Andersen, Owner and CEO of Andersen Promotions. “As we look ahead to 2021 with high hopes for a reinvigorated Indy Lights championship, these changes to our already strong prize package for Indy Pro 2000 and USF2000 will strengthen the entire Road to Indy ladder and ensure that our champions have the greatest opportunity to make it to the top.”
“The best drivers from the U.S. and around the world come to train with us, and they deserve the best we can give them for their careers. Our programme continues to do its job of providing a complete training, both on and off the track, for the future stars of the NTT INDYCAR SERIES. Adding a test for our 2020 champions to sample the next step of the ladder further underscores our commitment.”
“I appreciate the opportunity to work with Dan Andersen and Jonny Baker to continue to collaborate and develop the relationship between the Castrol Toyota Racing Series and Road to Indy,” added TRS Category and Operations Manager Nicolas Caillol.
“The scholarship programme is unique and provides a fantastic pathway for Kiwi drivers, particularly in the current economic climate. Hunter McElrea‘s recent involvement with the programme and of course Scott Dixon and his success within INDY over many years provides further inspiration for our up and coming NZ talent. This year Lucas Petersson became the second driver after Artem Petrov to have taken the opportunity of the TRS/Road to Indy partnership, and we wish him all the best for his season in Pro Indy 2000.”
Today’s announcement makes the Road to Indy Presented by Cooper Tires the only driver development programme to guarantee its champions advancement to the next step on the ladder. Both Indy Pro 2000 and USF2000 have served as a vital step for many of today’s top drivers, including recent Road to Indy graduates Oliver Askew and Rinus VeeKay and 2018 USF2000/2019 Indy Pro 2000 champion Kyle Kirkwood.
The 2020 season will get underway with a series-sanctioned Spring Training 2.0 open test at the Mid-Ohio Sports Car Course on June 29 followed by the season-opening double-header at Road America in Elkhart Lake in support of the NTT INDYCAR SERIES event weekend.