Archive for the ‘Andretti Autosport’ Category

Andrew’s third Owner’s Trophy ‘really special’

Thursday, January 15th, 2015

1.15.15 (via INDYCAR.com) – It’s too much to ask of Michael Andretti to select which of the three Indianapolis 500 Mile Race victories as a team owner is his favorite. Each is special in its own right.

 

Andretti was presented his most recent BorgWarner Championship Team Owner's Trophy by BorgWarner CEO James Verrier during a dinner at the annual Automotive News World Congress. He also won in 2005 (Dan Wheldon) and 2007 (Dario Franchitti) under the Andretti Green Racing banner.

 

“These are special moments and this one is really special in what we were able to do with Ryan, who did such a fantastic job in the race,” Andretti said. “Then it was the first one we won as Andretti Autosport and the way we won it. Those last six laps were some of the most exciting in Indianapolis 500 history.”

 

Andretti’s 42 Indy car victories are third on the all-time list – behind his father Mario (52), the 1969 Indianapolis 500 champion, and four-time Indy 500 winner A.J. Foyt (67) – and he has followed with more than 50 Verizon IndyCar Series wins as a team owner. Not winning the race as a driver doesn’t diminish the sense of accomplishment.

 

“The Borg-Warner Trophy is the iconic trophy of sports, not just auto racing, and unfortunately I don’t have my face on the trophy but I’ve been lucky enough to have three Indy 500 wins as an owner and I’m proud to have three drivers representing our team with their faces on the trophy,” said Andretti, who latest owner’s trophy will join the others in his office. “It says that we’ve done a good job as a team over the years. It’s the most special race in the world and when you win it stays with you the rest of your life.”

 

Based in Indianapolis, Andretti Autosport boasts four Verizon IndyCar Series championships (2004, 2005, 2007 and 2012), two Indy Lights titles (2008 and 2009), one Pro Mazda championship (2013) and one USF2000 championship (2010).

 

Andretti Autosport enters the 17-race Verizon IndyCar Series season that begins March 8 in Brasilia, Brazil, with entries for Hunter-Reay, Marco Andretti and 2014 Sunoco Rookie of the Year Carlos Munoz. Andretti remains positive that a fourth – and possibly a fifth – car will be added in the next few weeks to the lineup.

 

“Continuity is a great thing in racing and signing Ryan to a three-year extension (in August) puts that all aside and means we can focus on racing, and Marco and Carlos are sitting there (chomping at the bit) to win that Borg-Warner trophy, too,” Andretti said. “If I can get to five cars, I’d love to do it. We have a lot of irons in the fire and if two of them happen then we can have five cars. At the very least, we’d like to have four.”

 

 

 

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Blackstock eager to test new Indy Lights package

Thursday, January 8th, 2015

1.8.15 (via INDYCAR.com) – Getting a 1,500-pound present three weeks after Christmas is worth the wait, according to Shelby Blackstock.

 

“It’s going to be the real Christmas morning to be able to test,” he said.

 

Blackstock will drive the No. 51 Starstruck Andretti Autosport entry as Indy Lights Presented by Cooper Tires holds its first official Open Test with the new Dallara/Mazda package Jan. 13-14 on the 2.034-mile, 11-turn Palm Beach International Raceway road course in Jupiter, Fla.

 

“I’m excited to get going. We’ll see what happens when we turn the first lap and then hopefully not have any issues so we can start learning the car,” said Blackstock, who turns 25 on Feb. 23. “First and foremost, I hope to accomplish getting on top of the car and be the first guy to figure it out because that’s always the biggest thing that puts you up front.

 

“A couple of big things I’m looking forward to seeing is how the car performs and how it performs in traffic. The car (being assembled at the Andretti Autosport shop in photo at right) has really big tunnels and a lot of aerodynamics on it so we’ll see how these cars race with each other.”

 

Indy Lights teams/drivers also will test Jan. 26-27 on the Homestead-Miami Speedway road course and Jan. 29 on the 1.5-mile oval.

Full-field testing next month includes Feb. 18 at NOLA Motorsports Park and Feb. 24-25 at Barber Motorsports Park. The season opens with a doubleheader race weekend March 28-29 on the streets of St. Petersburg, Fla., in conjunction with the Verizon IndyCar Series-opening Firestone Grand Prix of St. Petersburg.

 

Blackstock, a Tennessee native, recorded one win, three poles, 13 podiums and 18 top-five finishes the past two seasons combined in the Pro Mazda Championship Presented by Cooper Tires in an Andretti Autosport-prepared car. He’ll be the third driver to take the next step up the Mazda Road to Indy ladder with Andretti Autosport (Zach Veach, 2013; Matthew Brabham, 2014).

 

“Going into this year I’m open-minded,” he said. “We had a good first season in Pro Mazda and the next season, when we’re trying to go for the championship, there were some expectations based how well we did the year before. Then the series changed the tire on us, which changed our car completely. So I’ve learned not to really have expectations.”

 

 

 

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Rob Edwards shifts from SPM to Andretti

Monday, January 5th, 2015

1.5.15 (via MotorSportsTalk) – Andretti Autosport has hired Rob Edwards, who had been the team manager with Schmidt Peterson Motorsports, as the team’s new Director of Race Operations and Engineering, effective immediately.

Edwards essentially replaces Kyle Moyer, who departed for Team Penske this offseason.

Under Michael Andretti’s umbrella, the remainder of the management team will be George Klotz (Team Manager, IndyCar), Dave Popielarz (Team Manager, Indy Lights), and Fran Reilly (Team Manager, Pro Mazda).

“We are excited to welcome Rob (Edwards) to the Andretti family,” Andretti said. “His experience in racing will be valuable in moving our organization forward across multiple racing platforms.”

Incidentally, this is the opposite of what happened to one of Andretti’s drivers this offseason. James Hinchcliffe left Andretti for Schmidt Peterson this winter, and was flanked by Edwards and SPM co-owner Ric Peterson at October’s announcement.

Edwards’ hiring bolsters Andretti’s management staff. The team has three IndyCars confirmed (Ryan Hunter-Reay, Marco Andretti, Carlos Munoz), one Indy Lights car (Shelby Blackstock) and two Pro Mazda cars (Dalton Kellett, Weiron Tan) confirmed thus far for 2015.

A fourth IndyCar and second Indy Lights car are expected to be confirmed in the new year.

 

 

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12 Days of Christmas: #4 RHR wins classic Indy 500

Monday, January 5th, 2015

1.1.15 (via RACER.com) – Ryan Hunter-Reay is accustomed to fighting for every ounce of success that has come his way. His duel with Helio Castroneves over the lead an eventual win at the 98th running of the Indianapolis 500 was a perfect example of the 2012 Verizon IndyCar Series champion’s resolve, and with one daring pass to take the lead on lap 197, RHR pulled off the biggest win of his career.

 

“It really comes down to the fact that I couldn’t have asked for the race to play out in any better way,” Hunter-Reay said. “To be a part, to be an Indy 500 winner is the top of the top of my list. But to win it that way in such a close fight…we knew that if we were to have a green finish, it was going to be an extremely close race, one with a lot of lead changes. We finally had that.”

 

The 2014 Indy 500 was just one of many recent Memorial Day classics to feature great battles in the final laps, but with most of those ending under caution, the scrap between RHR’s No. 28 Andretti Autosport Honda and Castroneves’ No. 3 Team Penske Chevy would make it to the checkered flag without interruption.

 

“I am just so relieved it didn’t end in a yellow or shortened by rain or anything like that,” RHR added. “And I always knew that I would put everything on the line for that win. I think everybody would. You see what [Takuma] Sato did with [Dario] Franchitti a few years back. It’s the only thing that matters, really. When you’re in that moment you’ll give anything to make it happen, and I think that’s what you see from my driving there.”

 

RHR’s relentless pursuit of the lead at Indy ushered him into a select club of “500” winners and he says life hasn’t been the same since his determined drive on May 25.

 

“It’s been fantastic…it’s been amazing…every part of the journey, it’s been more than I could have ever expected,” he noted. “The Indy 500, like I’ve said many times – it transcends motorsports, it’s part of American tradition. Even the most casual of motorsports fans, even people that aren’t motorsports fans, know and watch the Indy 500. It’s been pretty amazing, the recognition you get for winning what many consider is the biggest race in the world.”

 

With more than six month to reflect on what took place at Indy, RHR believes the stars aligned in his favor. Roles were reversed at last year’s Indy 500 as he watched Tony Kanaan rocket past to the front of the field in the final laps, and with the tables turned, he knows what Castroneves must have been feeling with the No. 28 Honda motored by to take the win.

 

“You know, there’s so much that goes into putting yourself in the position to compete for a win at the Indy 500: There’s so much that has to go right over the entire month, over the course of the day, over the course of the 500 miles to be in that duel at the end. The emotions in the car; your heart rate is probably towards 185 those last few laps, holding your breath through every corner,” he said.

 
 
 
 
 
 

Carlos Munoz Outclassed All Rookies in 2014

Monday, January 5th, 2015

12.31.14 (via Next Gen Indy) – The 2014 IndyCar season had 23 full time drivers, four of those were rookies to the IndyCar series.  Carlos Huertas, Jack Hawksworth, Mikhail Aleshin, and Carlos Munoz were the drivers getting their first full season shot in one of the premiere open-wheel series.  One of these rookies made his presence in the series well known and stood out among the others, Colombian racing driver Carlos Munoz.

 

Munoz drove for Andretti Autosport in the 2014 season along with IndyCar veterans Marco Andretti, Ryan Hunter-Reay, and James Hinchcliffe.  The 22 year old is on the younger side of the grid in terms of time behind the wheel, but showed no trouble getting up to speed with the more experienced field throughout the season.  He recorded nine top-ten finishes in the season, including three podiums for third place each time.  Of those top-ten finishes, five were within the top five.  His average finishing position for the year came out to 10.6, roughly four positions higher than the next best rookie, Mikhail Aleshin (14.4).

 

It’s not that Munoz didn’t have races that caused him some trouble (see below), but he was able to offset the poor results with better ones, something the other rookies failed to do.

 

 

 

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2014: A year of struggle in Indiana sports

Thursday, December 25th, 2014

12.25.14 (via IndyStar.com) – The box score is pedestrian, with Ryan Hunter-Reay officially leading the final four laps of the Indianapolis 500. Only it was better than that. Much better.

 

Hunter-Reay and Helio Castroneves staged a classic duel, swapping the lead three times during those final four laps to finish with the second-closest margin in race history (0.06 seconds). Only Al Unser Jr.'s win over Scott Goodyear in 1992 was closer at 0.043 seconds.

 

Hunter-Reay took the lead for the final time just ahead of the start/finish line on Lap 199, but it was his move two laps earlier in Turn 3 that was most memorable. He faked to the outside, then nearly drove his car to the grass for an inside pass.

 

"A daredevil move," Goodyear called it.

 

Hunter-Reay not only earned his first 500 victory, he became the first U.S.-born winner since Sam Hornish Jr. in 2006. Andretti Autosport scored its third victory; Castroneves was denied his fourth.

 

"I'm a proud American boy, that's for sure," Hunter-Reay said in victory lane.

 

 

 

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Seco supports Andretti Autosport racing

Tuesday, December 23rd, 2014

12.23.14 (via TodaysMotorVehicles.com) – Andretti Autosport CNC machinist Adam Erwin looks over the suspension dampers he just finished crafting for his team. Less than a day ago, the collection of dozens of tiny parts were just an engineer’s idea and a slab of metal, a dream to shave 0.1 seconds off a lap time.

That’s the life of an autosports machinist. Every day, 25 pairs of eyes scrutinize every race car component he machines – from the engineers and mechanics who design and install the parts to the drivers and sponsors who rely on them for victory. Each one of them expects Erwin’s parts to be precise, resilient, and aesthetically perfect before they can be used in an Andretti Autosport Indy car.

Like its cars, Andretti Autosport works fast. Based in Indianapolis and led by racing legend Michael Andretti, the team operates under stringent time constraints where every component must be perfect and produced as quickly as possible. And while many parts must remain stock to ensure an even playing field for all drivers, teams can make some vehicle modifications. This is where Erwin and the Andretti team’s other in-house CNC machinists come into play.

Suspension components and dampers (shock absorbers) are two major car features open to modification. Racing teams will often develop new, proprietary parts to continually improve car performance and shave valuable seconds off lap times.

 

 

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Andretti Autosport Confirms Weiron Tan for 2015 Pro Mazda

Wednesday, December 17th, 2014

12.17.14 — Weiron Tan will be the first Malaysian driver to compete for an open-wheel racing team in U.S. motorsport, as he and Andretti Autosport partner together for the 2015 Pro Mazda Championship presented by Cooper Tires campaign.

Kuala Lumpur-born Tan, who has been part of the Caterham F1 Young Driver programme for the past three years, moved to Europe in 2013 to compete in the Protyre British Formula Renault championship and secured second place in the points standings, scoring five wins, nine podiums and six pole positions. 2014 saw Weiron compete in the ATS Formel 3 Cup (commonly referred to as German F3) for Van Amersfoort Racing where he recorded two wins and five podiums for the Dutch outfit and now he feels the time is right to turn his attention to U.S. open-wheel racing.

“I am really thankful to Caterham F1 for all their support over the past few years, and I have really enjoyed racing in Europe and I can’t wait to start the next chapter of my career with Andretti Autosport in the USA.”

19-year-old Tan is managed by WH Sports Group who are the UK-based agency which also manages the career of 2012 Pro Mazda champion and current Verizon IndyCar Series driver Jack Hawksworth.

“As Jack and I share the same management company, I naturally took a big interest in him and his racing, and his success is part of the reason why I wanted to move my career to the U.S.; to try and emulate what Jack has achieved,” said Weiron.

The 2013 Pro Mazda Champions are equally excited to be working with Weiron for the 2015 season and Team Owner, President and CEO Michael Andretti had the following to say,

“Weiron has a great resume so far in his racing career, and we are very pleased to welcome him to open-wheel racing in the U.S. to our Pro Mazda team. He did very well for us at our evaluation test at Nola Motorsports Park last week, and we’re all looking forward to a successful season together."

Weiron and the Indianapolis, IN-based team will be back in action together in January in preparation for the Mazda Road to Indy Winterfest Championship that will visit the two permanent road courses of Nola and Barber Motorsports Park. 

Zach Veach thankful and anxious as 2015 IndyCar ride looms ahead

Sunday, December 14th, 2014

12.14.14 (via RaceChaserOnline.com) – The pieces look to be finally falling into place for 20-year-old Zach Veach, after five years of climbing the Mazda Road to Indy ladder system with Andretti Autosport.

 

Veach, the fresh faced young gun with the poise of a veteran, says he is “close” to having a full-season ride sewn up in the Verizon IndyCar Series for the 2015 season.

 

“We’re really, really close to having a full-time IndyCar deal done for 2015,” Veach said to Race Chaser Online during last Monday’s edition of Motorsports Madness. “It’s not signed yet, but we’re in the final stages of it so hopefully we can get that put together and you guys will find us in the fourth car at Andretti Autosport – running the big series.”

 

The Ohio native was in contention for this season’s Indy Lights presented by Cooper Tires championship all the way to the final weekend of the year – starting strong with two wins in the first three races (St. Petersburg and Barber 1) and keeping his hopes alive with a clutch triumph at Milwaukee – before mechanical troubles at Sonoma took him out of the title hunt.

 

Despite not coming away with his ultimate goal of a championship, Veach is still grateful for a campaign that produced three wins, nine podiums, 11 top-fives and four poles, placing him third in the points rundown behind eventual champion Gabby Chaves and British rookie Jack Harvey.

 

“I’m just very thankful,” Veach said of his campaign this year. “I mean, this past season we really just showed me [that] how much you work at something, or what you put in, is what you get [back] in return. 2013 wasn’t the year we wanted so we tore everything down and rebuilt it from the ground up and really put together the year that I wanted to have in 2014.”

 

 

 

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Vergne claims pole for Formula E debut

Saturday, December 13th, 2014

12.13.14 (via RACER.com) – Former Toro Rosso Formula 1 racer Jean-Eric Vergne will start his first Formula E race from pole position after setting the quickest time in Punta del Este qualifying.

Despite running in the first session, which is usually slowest due to the track cleaning up through the four-session qualifying process, Vergne set an unbeatable 1m15.408s lap, brushing a wall along the way in his Andretti Autosport-run car. The performance was a brilliant effort given that he had never driven the Spark-Renault until this weekend.

 

In the second session, Sebastien Buemi looked the man most likely to topple his fellow ex-Toro Rosso racer, and set the fastest first sector but locked up at Turn 17. His DAMS teammate Nico Prost then topped Buemi on his last lap by 0.12 seconds. But neither DAMS car will start from the front row, as Nelson Piquet Jr. annexed second on the grid with a storming final sector in his China Racing machine. His lap was only 0.122sec off Vergne's pole time.

 

The shock of the third session was Malaysia winner Sam Bird crashing out on his first flying lap at Turn 17. His Virgin car nosed into the TechPro barrier, and took no further part in the session.

 

Jerome d'Ambrosio also crashed, his right-rear clipping the wall at the exit of Turn 1, and he too failed to set a time.

 

Bird's teammate Jaime Alguersuari will start fifth, having topped practice in the morning, with championship leader Lucas di Grassi next up for Abt, just 0.05sec slower. Jarno Trulli and Bruno Senna will share row four, ahead of Nick Heidfeld and Daniel Abt.

 

As expected, due to the low grip levels of the beachside street circuit, there were plenty of spins and collisions with the walls. Antonio Felix da Costa brushed the fence at the quick chicane, but not before he'd set the 13th-fastest time. Stephane Sarrazin will start next to him, but spun at Turn 1.

 

Matthew Brabham hit the wall in the second session, damaging his Andretti Autosport car on his first flying lap and joining the three-strong list of drivers who failed to record a time.

 

The race runs this afternoon, and airs tonight on FOX Sports 1 at 9:00 p.m. Eastern.

 

 

 

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