Notes: Andretti Switching To Honda Power
Andretti Autosport announced Saturday that it will switch from Chevrolet to Honda engines in next season’s IndyCar Series.
“We look forward to working with Honda again; for us, it’s like being back home. I have no doubt that together we will see great success,” said Michael Andretti, the team’s chairman, president and CEO.
The Indianapolis-based team has competed as part of Team Chevy for the last two seasons, winning the championship in 2012 with Ryan Hunter-Reay. Prior to the return of the IndyCar manufacture competition in 2011, Andretti captured three series championships with Honda (2004, 2005, 2007), as well as two Indianapolis 500 victories (2005, 2007).
Since its inception in 2003, Andretti Autosport has captured 48 IndyCar Series victories – 39 of those under Honda power.
“We’re extremely happy to welcome Michael Andretti and his Andretti Autosport organization back into the Honda Racing family,” said Art St. Cyr, President, Honda Performance Development. “As many of you will remember, the Andretti organization played a major role in Honda’s success during the previous era of manufacturer competition in Indy car racing, and we’re looking forward to adding more victories and championships to an already impressive total.”
“We’d like to thank Michael Andretti and the entire Andretti Autosport organization for their partnership in IndyCar Series competition during 2012 and 2013,” said Jim Campbell, U.S. vice president Performance Vehicles and Motorsports. “Michael, J-F Thormann and John Lopes lead a quality organization that resulted in Ryan Hunter-Reay winning the 2012 IndyCar Series driver championship. We would like to thank the Andretti Autosport drivers for their on-track achievements that contributed to Chevrolet clinching the 2012 manufacturers’ championship. They are all true professionals on and off the track. We wish them well and look forward to spirited competition in the future.”
Honda has been a fixture in North American open-wheel racing since 1994 and has played an active role in the growth of Indy car racing – as both a Manufacturers’ Championship competitor and single engine supplier – since joining the series in 2003.
The company scored its first of nine consecutive Indianapolis 500 victories in 2004. Honda won Manufacturers’ Championships in 2004 and 2005, and captured the drivers’ championships with Andretti drivers Tony Kanaan (2004) and Wheldon (2005).
Honda became engine supplier to the entire IZOD IndyCar Series in 2006, and supplied racing engines to the full, 33-car Indianapolis 500 field each year from 2006-2011. For a record six-consecutive years, the ‘500’ ran without a single engine failure, and the 2010 Indianapolis 500 marked Honda’s 100th race win as a manufacturer and engine supplier in IZOD IndyCar Series competition.
Three-time race-winner James Hinchcliffe will return to Andretti Autosport for the full 2014 IndyCar Series season with a new sponsor and engine-supplier.
Hinchcliffe will drive the No. 27 Dallara with primary sponsorship from United Fiber & Data (UFD), a tech company founded by three members of the multi-platinum rock band LIVE and their Think Loud Development company. Hinchcliffe previously carried the colors of GoDaddy.com on his Chevrolet-powered car, which will compete with Honda engines beginning next season. Both announcements were made Saturday afternoon preceding the season-ending MAVTV 500 at Auto Club Speedway in Fontana, Calif.
United Fiber & Data also will serve as a major associate sponsor on the No. 25 and No. 28 Dallara/Hondas piloted by Marco Andretti and 2012 IndyCar Series champion Ryan Hunter-Reay, respectively.
“We’re very happy to announce that Hinch will be back with us and that United Fiber & Data will be growing their sponsorship role,” said Michael Andretti, chairman, president and CEO of Andretti Autosport. ”Hinch is a great addition to our team, and Chad (Taylor), Bill (Hynes) and everyone at UFD have become a true part of the Andretti Autosport family. We have a great friendship and partnership in UFD, and we look forward to sharing in many more wins together.”
Hinchcliffe, 26, marked his 50th career IndyCar start at Auto Club Speedway Saturday night. The Toronto native broke through for his first three series wins this season, and also has 25-top 10 finishes during his previous 49 starts. Hinchcliffe, who began his IndyCar career with Newman/Haas Racing in 2011, joined Andretti Autosport before his second year in the open-wheel series.
“It’s great to be back with Andretti,” Hinchcliffe said. “Obviously, this has been home for the last two years and we preach so much about chemistry in this team and to keep it together is awesome. I want to, first off, thank GoDaddy for the last two years and the support that they’ve given to this team. But I’m really excited about UFD and being able to work with those guys. I think we can do a lot together and it’s great to be back working with Michael, Ryan and Marco and everyone on the team.”
Founded in 2009 and based in York, Pa., UFD also will serve as primary sponsor in 2014 for newly crowned Pro Mazda champion Matthew Brabham as the third generation driver transitions into Indy Lights in the United Fiber & Data/MAZDASPEED car. A 19-year-old resident of Boca Raton, Fla., Brabham posted 13 wins and 15 podium finishes during the 2013 season _ both series records _ clinching the title at the Grand Prix of Trois-Rivieres, in Canada, in August.No Comment