Two names rich in heritage and synonymous with winning have partnered to bring a successful legacy into the world of American-open wheel racing. Newly launched Steinbrenner Racing will join forces in 2017 with racing veterans Andretti Autosport to field an entry in the open-wheel “AAA series” of Indy Lights Presented by Cooper Tires.
This venture will be a maiden voyage in open-wheel racing for the Steinbrenner family, whose name became a cornerstone of America’s favorite pastime when George Michael Steinbrenner III purchased the New York Yankees in 1973.
“I have been around Indy car racing for nearly half of my young life as a fan and enthusiast,” said Steinbrenner Racing team principal George Michael Steinbrenner IV. “Andretti Autosport always seemed to have a prestige in how they operate and present themselves that mirrors that of the Yankees. The legacy of the Andretti name and the success and wide reach of the Andretti brand is as impressive as you will find in the world of motor racing.”
“Partnering with a name as iconic as Steinbrenner is really something I’m looking forward to,” said Andretti Autosport CEO Michael Andretti. “George Michael (Steinbrenner IV) has a great vision for his race team, just as his grandfather had for the Yankees. We are looking forward to having George Michael join us in our Indianapolis office in a very hands-on role with the team. I think together the partnership can continue to grow in motorsport, and it is only fitting that we begin by entering a car into the Mazda Road to Indy [Presented by Cooper Tires] program with Indy Lights.”
Completing the entry will be second-generation racer Colton Herta as he joins the Andretti Steinbrenner team to pilot the No. 98 Mazda for his rookie season of Indy Lights competition.
The 2013 Pacific Formula F1600 Champion is the son of former racer and now team owner Bryan Herta, and holds an impressive resume finishing third overall in the 2015 MSA Formula championship scoring four wins, three pole positions and 12 podiums. The California-native has brought home three wins and four pole-positions in his 2016 EuroFormula Open Campaign and earned one win and three podiums while racing in just two events in the 2016 British Formula 3 Championship.
This season will mark the first that Herta, 16, has raced on U.S. soil since 2014, where he competed in the first step on the Mazda Road to Indy ladder, Cooper Tires USF2000 Championship Powered by Mazda. At the age of 14, the young American moved his talents to Europe to establish a winning reputation competing in the MSA Formula Certified by FIA, Formula Open and the British Formula 3 Championship.
“I’m very pleased to be coming back to race in the States,” said Herta. “IndyCar is my goal, so competing in Indy Lights this year will bring me one step closer. I know I have a good team behind me in Andretti Steinbrenner Racing and we should be fighting for wins right away.”
“Colton set out at a young age to create his own path in racing, and I’m really pleased to see that path bring him here to Andretti Autosport,” added Andretti. “Through our Indy Lights program, we are dedicated to developing future IndyCar drivers, and Colton has shown that he is both determined and talented enough to reach the Verizon IndyCar Series – We’re excited to be a part of his continued development.”
Herta joins Dalton Kellett (No. 28 K-Line Insulators Mazda), Nico Jamin (No. 27 Synova Mazda) and Ryan Norman (No. 48 Flip Side Mazda) as the fourth and final driver announced to Andretti’s 2017 Indy Lights roster