Indy Lights rebrands as INDY NXT, adds Firestone as Official Tire & sponsor, releases 2023 schedule

By Steve Wittich

The series, most recently known as Indy Lights, will undergo a rebranding in 2023 to appeal to younger and emerging consumer audience. INDY NXT by Firestone will be the new moniker.

The primary feeder series for the NTT INDYCAR SERIES began life as the American Racing Series in 1986 and, through the first 36 seasons of competition, had ten different names.

Coming on board as the Official Tire and presenting sponsor is Firestone. It will be the 18th season that Firestone or one of their affiliate brands has been the title sponsor of the top-level North American junior category series.

“We look forward to being part of the journey as INDY NXT enters a new era and expands our partnership with INDYCAR,” said Lisa Boggs, director of motorsports, Bridgestone Americas. “Having been in the series previously, we know how important it is for the development of the next generation of drivers, and we are proud to support them again. INDY NXT provides opportunities for Firestone to engage with new audiences and develop and showcase our technology.”

The primary feeder series for Indy car over the last four decades has had the following names:

  • American Racing Series – 1986, 1987 & 1990
  • HFC American Racing Series – 1988 & 1989
  • Firestone Indy Lights Championship – 1991, 1992, 1993, 2008, 2009, 2010, 2011, 2012 & 2013
  • PPG/Firestone Indy Lights Championship – 1994, 1995, 1996, & 1997
  • PPG/Dayton Indy Lights Championship – 1998 & 1999
  • Dayton Indy Lights Championship – 2000 & 2001
  • Infiniti Pro Series – 2002 & 2003
  • Menards Infiniti Pro Series – 2004 & 2005
  • Indy Pro Series – 2006 & 2007
  • Indy Lights Presented by Cooper Tires – 2014, 2015, 2016, 2017, 2018, 2019, 2021 & 2022
  • INDY NXT by Firestone – 2023

Twenty of the 35 drivers that contested at least one NTT INDYCAR SERIES race in 2022 were graduates of INDY NXT by Firestone.

The INDY NXT by Firestone drivers will contest a 14-race schedule, including eight natural terrain road courses, four street circuits, and two oval races.

2023 INDY NXT by Firestone schedule

March 51Streets Of St. PetersburgSt. Petersburg, Fla.Peacock
April 302Barber Motorsports ParkBirmingham, Ala.Peacock
May 12-133 & 4Indianapolis Motor Speedway Road CourseSpeedway, Ind.Peacock
June 3 & 45 & 6Streets Of DetroitDetroit, MichPeacock
June 187Road AmericaElkhart Lake, Wisc.Peacock
July 28Mid-Ohio Sports Car CourseLexington, OhioPeacock
July 229Iowa SpeedwayNewton, IowaPeacock
August 610Streets Of NashvilleNashville, Tenn.Peacock
August 2711World Wide Technology Raceway At GatewayMadison, Ill.Peacock
September 312Portland International RacewayPortland, Ore.Peacock
September 9 & 1013 & 14WeatherTech Raceway Laguna SecaMonterey, Calif.Peacock

Integration within the NTT INDYCAR SERIES paddock began last year as INDYCAR took over the promotion and management of the series. More of those benefits are expected this season.

“INDY NXT by Firestone will continue to develop and graduate new generations of racers ready to engage in breathtaking, high-stakes competition,” said INDYCAR President Jay Frye. “Firestone is the perfect partner in this endeavor, with its innovative technology and authentic appreciation for INDY NXT and its vast potential.”

A larger field of drivers is expected in 2023, with 13 drivers already confirmed and six more likely.

HMD Motorsports w/Dale Coyne Racing’s Danial Frost at the Chris Griffis Memorial Test (Photo Courtesy of Penske Entertainment- Joe Skibinski)

HMD Motorsports w/Dale Coyne Racing veteran Danial Frost, who recently tested an NTT INDYCAR SERIES car with Dale Coyne Racing, was the quickest driver in the last two tests on the Indianapolis Motor Speedway road course and at Barber Motorsports Park.