INDIANAPOLIS — Bridgestone Americas Tire Operations LLC (BATO) and IndyCar have announced they will allow the Firestone brand sponsorship and supply contract with the IZOD IndyCar Series and Firestone Indy Lights to expire at the end of the 2011 season.
"It’s unfortunate to lose a great partner and ambassador for the sport like Firestone," said Randy Bernard, CEO, IndyCar. "We are actively engaged in discussions with other tire manufacturers on opportunities to get involved in our sport as we prepare to debut our new car in 2012. As the fastest, most versatile racing series in the world, IndyCar provides an ideal platform for companies looking to showcase both performance and brand on the track. In fact, Firestone credits its association with our sport in doubling the sales of its street tires in the U.S. during our first five years of partnership."
"It has truly been a pleasure to have Firestone as a tire manufacturer since the inception of the IZOD IndyCar Series and we greatly appreciate what they have contributed over the last 15 years and more," said Brian Barnhart, president of competition and operations, IndyCar. "Firestone has been a great partner and has brought incredible performance and reliability to our sport with their product and for that, we are very grateful. We look forward to a great season with them in 2011 and want to wish everyone associated with the Firestone brand all the best in the future."
Firestone has supplied tires to the IZOD IndyCar Series since 1996. It currently serves as the title sponsor and tire supplier for Firestone Indy Lights, the developmental series for drivers and teams striving to reach the top-level of open wheel racing in North America.