Indy Lights to Race at the 2021 Detroit Grand Prix
DETROIT, Mich. (October 22, 2020) – The next generation of INDYCAR rising stars will race at the Detroit Grand Prix in 2021 as the Indy Lights Presented by Cooper Tires series will host two races on Belle Isle, June 12-13.
The top level of the Road to Indy Presented by Cooper Tires driver development system, Indy Lights has a long history of competing in the Motor City. The series that has helped cultivate many of the past and current stars of INDYCAR racing has hosted 13 races in Detroit since 1989, but Indy Lights has not raced on Belle Isle since 2012.
Competing alongside the top open-wheel racing series in North America – the NTT INDYCAR SERIES – at the 2021 Detroit Grand Prix, Indy Lights will host races on both Saturday and Sunday, June 12-13. The doubleheader weekend on the Raceway at Belle Isle Park street circuit will be Rounds 5 and 6 of the 20-race 2021 Indy Lights championship.
“We’re excited to welcome Indy Lights back to Belle Isle in 2021,” said Michael Montri, President of the Detroit Grand Prix. “Indy Lights Presented by Cooper Tires has helped produce some of the top drivers in INDYCAR history and the series has a great tradition of racing in Detroit. Belle Isle hasn’t hosted an Indy Lights race in what will be nine years so we’re looking forward to the return of the series and its teams next summer and it will be a great opportunity for our fans to see some of the rising stars of INDYCAR racing.”
Competing on both the downtown Detroit street circuit, as well as on Belle Isle, Indy Lights has produced some memorable racing moments at the Detroit Grand Prix, including Motor City wins from such established INDYCAR veterans as Adrian Fernandez (1992), Tony Kanaan (1996 and 1997) and Michigan’s own Robbie Buhl (1995). Gustavo Yacaman won the last Detroit Grand Prix Indy Lights race in 2012.
With a car design and features similar to the current Indy car, the Indy Lights equipment package provides the training and skills young drivers need to take the next step in their development. Equipped with Cooper tires, each car features a Dallara chassis and a 450-horsepower AER engine, compared to the 700-horsepower engines in the current Indy car configuration. In 2021, the Indy Lights cars will also race with a Dallara-designed and installed Titanium Halo around the driver for increased safety.
Indy Lights graduates have a strong track record of success in INDYCAR competition. Former Lights racers that have excelled at the next level include: Paul Tracy, Bryan Herta, Helio Castroneves, Tony Kanaan and Ed Carpenter, along with 2020 NTT INDYCAR SERIES title contenders and former champions Scott Dixon and Josef Newgarden. Current INDYCAR young guns Oliver Askew, Colton Herta, Pato O’Ward and Rinus VeeKay are all recent Indy Lights graduates.
Since the formation of the Road to Indy ladder system in 2010, 37 Indy Lights drivers have raced in the NTT INDYCAR SERIES. In this year’s Indianapolis 500, 23 of the 33 drivers on the starting grid were Indy Lights graduates, including eight Indy Lights series champions.