IndyCar – IRL to Sanction a Revived F2000

USF2000Amidst the uncertainty surrounding many things involving the Indy Racing League (title sponsor, Brazil race, new engine/chassis specs), one more iron is added to the fire: F2000. The Indy Racing League has recently signed an agreement to be the sanctioning body for the U.S. F2000 National Championship. This is certainly an interesting move, and an uplifting one in some respects. If successful, the new F2000 series could provide a solid ladder sequence for young drivers to make their way to Indianapolis. Last year, the IRL supported the Snap-On Stars of Karting series by being a presenting sponsor, and the league is heavily involved with karting around the Indianapolis area. With the addition of F2000, the league now has that first step in to cars that will give young drivers the experience they need in order to be successful in the Firestone Indy Lights Series. This won’t be the only F2000-spec series out there, however. Peter Windsor’s USF1 has endorsed the F2000 Championship Series as their “official feeder series” and from the looks of things, that series is strong and lot likely to be closing up shop any time soon. Presumably, the new USF2000 series would be sharing race weekends with the IndyCar Series and Firestone Indy Lights. That would certainly give the new series its best opportunity for exposure, and it would give young drivers, mechanics, and engineers the best opportunity to network with the bigger teams in hopes of moving up the ladder. I’m concerned as to where this leaves the Mazda open-wheel program, though. Star Mazda and Formula Atlantics have both offered great racing and good opportunities for young drivers over the years, but with the Atlantics only having 10 entries this year and looking to be all but dead for next year, I’m not sure where the Star Mazda series sits. Andersen Racing has heavy involvement the Star Mazda series, but with their reintroduction of the USF2000 series, Star Mazda is left with a diminished grid, and no clear place for its graduates to go. There’s a lot of positives to this deal, but I also see a lot of negative side effects. I suppose we’ll just have to wait until 2010 and see how this all turns out.

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5 Thoughts to “IndyCar – IRL to Sanction a Revived F2000

  1. I am happy to see IndyCar moving further to develop a path to Indy, and I sincerely hope that this venture works out better than the “road to indy” logos that USAC was sporting just a few short years ago. That didn’t turn out so well.

    But with USF1 and IndyCar both relying on F2000 as a feeder, things are starting to look a little brighter.

    Atlantics certainly have gone through their ups and downs lately, and now Newman Wachs is leaving and making statements about how the 1 million dollar champion’s purse may not be available….. Bad things!

  2. Well, see that’s part of my concern. USF1 and the IRL aren’t backing the same F2000 series. The USF2000 National Championship and the F2000 Championship Series are two different entities as I understand it.

  3. I see….

    But I don’t understand. I guess the IRL wanted to back a different horse that would be willing to run ovals.

  4. Well, perhaps in part its about the ovals, but Star Mazda does some ovals as well, and is an already well established series. However, it feeds directly to the Atlantic Champioship which is also powered by Mazda. Andersen already owned the rights to the USF2000, it had just been dormant since the 90s. I suspect that this was a PR opportunity for both Andersen and the IRL. Its not going to cost the IRL much in the way of operations if the USF2000 series runs on the same weekends as the ICS and FIL, and there are plenty of chassis and engines that fit the F2000 spec. If done right, this could go very well for Andersen, the IRL, and young drivers aspiring to race at Indianapolis. For those aspiring to F1, the USF2000 series might not be for them and they’ll opt for the USF1-backed F2000 Championship. I suppose the biggest unknown in all of this is how many young karters aspire to race at Indianapolis versus Spa?

  5. ATB73

    I really hope usf2000 replaces ALMS at St. Pete. That event needs a good shot in the arm now.

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