Rumours of the company’s withdrawal had been doing the rounds for some months, the news will some come as a significant blow to series organisers who had hoped that the new-for-2012 rules package would prove a tempting enough prospect to stay on board.
The announcement means that the INDYCAR group (being the IndyCar Series and the Indy Lights championships) will now be on the lookout for a new tyre supplier ahead of the 2012 season.
“It’s unfortunate to lose a great partner and ambassador for the sport like Firestone. We are actively engaged in discussions with other tyre manufacturers on opportunities to get involved in our sport as we prepare to debut our new car in 2012,” said series boss Randy Bernard.
“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 tyres in the US during our first five years of partnership.”
Firestone has had a full-time involvement in American open-wheel racing since 1995 when it rejoined the sport after a 21-year absence. The brand quickly overcame rival Goodyear, and by 1999 it was the sole supplier in Champ Cars and IndyCars.
[Original image via LAT]