INDYCAR, Firestone agree to multiyear contract extension

Chris Owens/INDYCAR

By Aaron Bearden, Motorsports Editor

Eight months after rolling to their 67th victory in the Indianapolis 500 in the race’s 100th running, the Firestone tire brand’s exclusive use in the Verizon IndyCar Series is set to continue for 2017 and beyond.

INDYCAR announced Tuesday a multiyear contract extension with Bridgestone Americas Tire Operations, LLC (BATO) that will see the Firestone brand of tires utilized by all IndyCar teams for the foreseeable future, as well as select race sponsorships and on-site activation at each of the season’s 17 events.

The announcement continues a longstanding relationship between Firestone and open-wheel racing that dates back to the early days of motorsports, including Ray Harroun’s victory in the inaugural Indianapolis 500 in 1911. Though the brand went on a 20-year hiatus from open-wheel 1975-1994, Firestone has since been involved in Indy Car racing for 22-consecutive years, including an exclusive partnership with INDYCAR that began in 2000.

“For more than a century, the Firestone brand has utilized racing as the ideal stage to showcase the trusted dependability of our tires,” Bridgestone Americas Director of Motorsports Lisa Boggs said. “This partnership is integral to our marketing initiatives as it allows us to engage with fans via the unique, multi-faceted platform that the Verizon IndyCar Series provides, and we look forward to building upon the brand’s time-tested racing legacy.”

In an effort to increase on-track activity during practice sessions, Firestone has also announced that the company will increase their tire allotment for weekends, allowing teams to utilize a set of alternate (red-sidewall) Firestone Firehawk tires during Friday practice sessions at road- and street-courses.

“Firestone is part of the fabric of INDYCAR and its commitment to evolving performance, innovation and safety in the Verizon IndyCar Series has been remarkable,” INDYCAR President of Operations Jay Frye said. “The Firestone brand has been part of our sport for more than 100 years and continues to be an integral partner in the growth of INDYCAR on and off the racetrack.”

The 2017 IndyCar season will begin with a Firestone-sponsored event, the March 12 Firestone Grand Prix of St. Petersburg.

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