The official feeder category for the IndyCar Series, Indy Lights, has cancelled its 2020 season due to the effects of the Covid-19 pandemic.
Due to the ongoing pandemic, several events have been rescheduled or cancelled outright, leaving the feeder series in disarray and unable to fulfil its schedule for the season.
The category was first established in 1986 under the title of the CART American Racing Series. Many of its alumni have gone onto take greater success in IndyCar such as Paul Tracy, Scott Dixon, and Tony Kanaan as well as reigning double IndyCar champion Josef Newgarden.
In 2019, 23 of the 33 starters at the 103rd running of the Indianapolis 500 were all graduates from the top tier of the Road to Indy ladder.
The championship was originally due to join IndyCar at 11 of the 2020 rounds.
“The effects of the global pandemic on businesses, including racing, have been severe,” said Dan Andersen, Owner and CEO of Andersen Promotions.
“The changes to our overall calendar of races as well as each event weekend’s scheduling and the ability for some of our drivers to compete has impacted the Indy Lights series far more harshly than our other two championships.
“With less of a cushion to begin with, it became increasingly apparent that the 2020 season was in jeopardy and the best plan was to take a pause, reconstitute for 2021, and do our best to enhance the Indy Lights championship for next season.
“After discussions with INDYCAR and understanding of their firm commitment to Indy Lights going forward, we, together, decided to suspend the 2020 Indy Lights season.
“We recognise that this will cause some hardships, but we hope all participants will realize the necessity of this decision and we look ahead to 2021 with a promise of better things to come.”
Reigning Indy Lights champion Oliver Askew and 2019 runner-up Rinus VeeKay are set to make their respective IndyCar debuts at the Texas Motor Speedway this Saturday (June 6).
IndyCar President Jay Frye added: “The Road to Indy is extremely important to IndyCar. This was a difficult decision, knowing the impact it would have on the competitors and how disappointing it would be for the fans.
“However, it became clear, that we needed to focus our collective efforts on preparing for a strong 2021 Indy Lights season.”
The two junior levels below Indy Lights, the Indy Pro 2000 Championship and the USF2000 Championship will continue with a full season of competition in 2020.
Indy Lights has struggled to attract drivers in recent years, with only eight taking part in each event in 2019, while 10 had confirmed their participation for the 2020 campaign.