New and expanded IndyCar partnerships make their entrance this weekend
This weekend brings the debut of the 2018 Verizon IndyCar Series at the Firestone Grand Prix of St. Petersburg. The 110-lap race is set for Sunday, March 11 at 12:30 PM EDT which will also serve as the exciting race unveiling of the new IndyCar aerokit.
[Read: New Aerokit Means New Liveries for IndyCar
With the new season comes new and returning faces and partnerships. Look out for brands that are establishing or expanding their space as a sponsor in IndyCar this season, including the following:
Fleet Cost & Care
Rahal Letterman Lanigan Racing brought in several new partners this offseason, including Fleet Cost & Care. FCC expanded their partnership to include a primary sponsorship at Text Motor Speedway with Graham Rahal and an associate sponsorship for the remainder of the season.
“As Fleet Cost & Care celebrates our 25th anniversary we could not be more excited to grow our relationship with Rahal Letterman Lanigan Racing,” added Fleet Cost & Care President Jeff Curran. “Being a sponsor of a team with the history of success and professionalism that RLL enjoys gives us great pride. We are looking forward to a great 2018 season and many more to come.”
Andretti Autosport announced a brand new partner in U.S. Concrete in February. U.S. Concrete will become the primary sponsor of Marco Andretti for six Verizon IndyCar Series races including Long Beach and the Indianapolis 500.
“The legacy and strength of the Andretti team exemplifies the business units that make up the U.S. Concrete family and is an excellent platform to showcase what we offer,” said U.S. Concrete Marketing Communications Manager, Andrew Pinkerton. “Our partnership with Marco Andretti and Andretti Autosport is very exciting and we look forward to taking this partnership beyond the race track and integrating the Andretti’s winning formula into our business.”
Group One Thousand One
Also joining the team at Andretti Autosport is Group One Thousand One. The U.S. based insurance holding company will serve as the primary sponsor for Zach Veach for the 2018 season.
“We’re proud to continue supporting Zach as he rises to the next level in his racing career with the world-class Andretti Autosport team,” said Dan Towriss, CEO, Group One Thousand One. “We believe sports have the power to transform lives and we’re thrilled to continue our partnership with Zach as he pursues his passion.”
Petro-Canada Lubricants announced a multi-year extension with Schmidt Peterson Motorsports for 2018. The Canadian company will serve as a full-season associate sponsor on both the No. 5 and No. 6 entries for SPM.
“We are excited to join our distributors and customers, as well as Indy fans in general, in cheering on James and the SPM team again in 2018,” said Mark A. Plake, president, PCLI. “With an aligned focus on innovation and excellence, we look forward to developing new technology opportunities with SPM that drive winning results.”
More than just a new sponsor in the Verizon IndyCar Series, Harding Racing announced in the offseason their plans to field a full-time entry in 2018. Harding Racing is backed by Harding Group, a concrete and asphalt paving company based in Indianapolis.
“After the success we had in our three races of 2017, the next logical step was to take the team to a full season,” said team owner Mike Harding. “During the offseason we have continued to build Harding Racing by adding key people to key positions to become a strong contender in the Verizon IndyCar Series.”
Leading global payments provider, Paysafe became the primary and naming sponsor of the Dale Coyne Racing entry that will be shared by Canadian Zach Claman De Melo and Brazilian Pietro Fittipaldi for the 2018 Verizon IndyCar Series season.
"[IndyCar] racing is extremely high profile in North America and this is a region where we see significant growth opportunities for our business. It makes strategic sense to build on our initial involvement in last year's season, and make our full debut as a leading partner in the 2018 season. We very much see this partnership programme as a central component of our North American brand strategy," said Oscar Nieboer, Paysafe’s Chief Marketing Officer.
PNC expanded their partnership with Chip Ganassi Racing to become the primary sponsor of Scott Dixon’s No. 9 Honda for the entire 2018 season.
“Expanding our association with Chip Ganassi Racing and champion driver Scott Dixon brings together two organizations specializing in innovation, determination and a commitment to excellence,” said PNC Chairman, President and Chief Executive Officer William S. Demchak. “As we debut the No. 9 PNC Bank [IndyCar] this season, the global brand visibility and the unique race track experiences we can offer clients around the country will bring new opportunities for us in an industry that attracts an estimated 54 million fans.”
[Read: On Track at IndyCar Media Day