Everything you need to know about Indy Lights and Force Indy's move from USF2000 to the Indy Lights Championship Series.
INDY LIGHTS AT-A-GLANCE
Road to Indy Ladder System
Since its launch in 2010, the Road to Indy ladder system has attracted competitors from around the globe. Drivers from Australia, Brazil, Canada, China, Colombia, Denmark, Finland, France, Ireland, Italy, Korea, Mexico, Netherlands, Norway, Philippines, Singapore, Spain, Sweden, United Kingdom, Venezuela and Zimbabwe have been part of the grids, showcasing their talents at premier venues on a mix of road courses, temporary street circuits and ovals.
Drivers begin on the Road to Indy in the Cooper Tires USF2000 Championship, a revival of the highly regarded USF2000 series which ran from 1990 through 2006. The goal of the series is to provide a professional, entry-level open-wheel training ground serving as the ﬁrst step on the ladder to an NTT INDYCAR SERIES career.
From there, drivers move on to the Indy Pro 2000 Championship Presented by Cooper Tires, formerly known as the Pro Mazda and Star Mazda Championships, whose past graduates include Marco Andretti, Oliver Askew, Conor Daly, James Hinchcliffe, Kyle Kirkwood, Spencer Pigot, Graham Rahal, Zach Veach and Rinus VeeKay.
From Indy Pro 2000, drivers move into Indy Lights Presented by Cooper Tires. Indy Lights has long been a vital step for competitors to reach the pinnacle of open-wheel racing in America, boasting over 100 drivers as graduates.
Indy Lights Presented by Cooper Tires
Indy Lights has become the backbone of the NTT INDYCAR SERIES with 20 of the 33 starters in the 2021 Indianapolis 500 as graduates, including seven Indy Lights champions. In total, 23 graduates from series that comprise the Road to Indy were on the NTT INDYCAR SERIES grids in 2020. The success of Indy Lights as a springboard to INDYCAR has
never been more apparent. Since the formation of the Road to Indy in 2010, 37 Indy Lights drivers have made career starts in the NTT INDYCAR SERIES. And since the inception of Indy Lights, this number totals 143. All but three of the 33 champions in the series history have moved up to the top step.
In 2022, Penske Entertainment and INDYCAR will take over management and operation of the Indy Lights Series. Firestone proposed to be the title sponsor of the Indy Lights Series and work collectively with Penske Entertainment to strengthen this important developmental platform.
were on the NTT INDYCAR SERIES starting grids in 2021
have made IndyCar career starts since the formation of the Road to Indy
in prize money will be divided among the 14 Indy Lights races.
have been crowned on the Road to Indy
have been NTT INDYCAR SERIES race winners
The series champion will receive a scholarship and additional benefits to use toward a 2023 NTT INDYCAR SERIES entry
For more series info go to www.indycar.com/indylights
Aerodynamics: As applied to racing, the study of the interaction between air and the resistance and pressures created by the passage of a moving car through the air.
Apex: The area of a turn near its center.
Apron: The paved (and usually flat) portion of a racetrack that separates the racing surface from the infield. Generally, a concrete wall, steel guardrail or SAFER Barrier separates the apron from the infield.
Chassis: The central body of the car, including the driver’s compartment. Also referred to as the “tub.”
Disc: In brakes, the rotor, the part that revolves and against which brake linings are pressed during braking.
Downforce: Creation of force through aerodynamics, which keeps the car stuck to the track. High-speed movement of air underneath the car creates a vacuum, while the wings on the car force it to stay on the ground, acting in a manner opposite to the wings of an airplane.
Handling: A race car’s on-track performance determined by factors such as tire and suspension setup and other aerodynamic issues.
Loose: Terms used to describe that the rear of the car is unstable because of a lack of rear-tire grip caused by too much front downforce or not enough rear downforce. Also known as “oversteer.”
Podium: The top three finishers in an event stand on a podium (or stage) to be recognized after the race. The winner is usually in the middle on a higher pedestal, flanked by the second- and third-place finishers.
Pushing: Term used to describe that a car does not want to turn in the corners because of a lack of tire grip. This can be caused by a lack of downforce on the front of the car or too much downforce on the rear of the car. Also known as “understeer.”
Slicks: A treadless tire, used on dry surfaces. Slicks provide maximum contact with the track surface, thereby enhancing grip. In wet conditions, treaded tires are used to dissipate the water build-up between the track and the tire surfaces in order to increase grip.
Tight: Also known as “understeer.” A handling condition characterized by a lack of grip in the front tires. As the driver steers through a turn, the front wheels want to continue straight.
Toe: Refers to the alignment of the front and rear tires. If tires point inward, the condition is called “toe-in.” If tires point outward, the condition is called “toe-out.” Correct toe settings are essential in order to maximize grip.
Tow/Drafting: As the race car moves around the track, it splits the air, some going over the car and some beneath. This lack of air behind the car creates a vacuum, which a trailing car may use to be pulled or “towed.”
Turbocharger: Routes engine exhaust gases to turn a turbine, which powers a compressor that forces a greater volume of air into the engine’s intake system, thus increasing horsepower and fuel efficiency.