A new team focusing on African American involvement in motorsports will be entering the Road to Indy series next year, and will be mentored by Team Penske’s state-of-the-art operations in order to help it get off the ground successfully.
The team will be named Force Indy, not to be confused with the former F1 team Force India which has since changed owners and been renamed Racing Point.
Force Indy will initially field an entry in the USF2000 series, which has the lowest barriers to entry of the Road to Indy ladder, and will look to advance all the way up to the NTT IndyCar series as the program develops.
The announcement comes as part of IndyCar’s broader Race for Equality & Change initiative that was announced earlier this year.
The new team hopes to make a statement in the racing world, proving that historically under-represented communities belong in the sport and can find just as much success when given the opportunity to do so.
Force Indy team manager Rod Reid has many years of racing experience under his belt, and will focus on hiring and developing Black American men and women mechanics, engineers, staffers and drivers.
“I’ve had an opportunity to see the sport from back when I was in my teens coming to the Indianapolis 500 all the way through to being involved with one of the first African Americans to run in Super [Formula] Vee,” said Reid.
“We always dreamed of having a black enterprise that would be oriented towards people of color.
“This is not the first time that we’ve had black ownership in cars or teams. But I think this is one of the first times we will be able to do something that’s sustainable because of the support and the interest from folks like Roger Penske and the Penske organization, we’ve been able to start on this path.
“I kind of see this two ways. One is that we are inviting the black community to come into motorsports through our effort as Force Indy. We are also inviting the motorsports industry to embrace seeing and having the presence of African Americans and people of color in the pits, in the paddock, in other places in motorsports.
“Roger [Penske]’s experience will be an invaluable resource in creating a successful organization. There’s no better time than now to start a team.”
The Cooper Tires USF2000 series is the first official step in the Road to Indy feeder series program, followed successively by Indy Pro 2000, Indy Lights, and finally the full-blown NTT IndyCar series.
The progressively more advanced series serve as stepping stones not only for aspiring drivers, but for fledgling teams as well. Force Indy will look to move up into the higher categories as it becomes more established in the sport in the coming years.
The team will start with a single entry in 2021, but is hoping to find enough success to be able to expand to run multiple cars per weekend in the future as well.
During its first season, Force Indy will be based in Concord, North Carolina, and will receive crucial guidance from Team Penske, who is offering the services of some of its key personnel.
“When the IMS and IndyCar acquisition happened a year ago, I was pleased to learn of the work Rod Reid was doing,” said IMS chairman Roger Penske at the announcement.
“To lend our support to an effort like this is a natural. Together, we’ll work to not only get this new team off the ground but continue to support it and its mission as it continues down a path to compete at the top level.”
Force Indy has yet to find a main sponsor and is still vetting young drivers for its first ever entry. Reid has already been considering numerous drivers, and believes there is plenty of talent available.
The team’s debut race will be at the Firestone Grand Prix of St. Petersburg, where it will compete in the support race for the NTT IndyCar series on March 5-7, 2021.