IndyCar Driver Preview: Tristan Vautier

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#55 Tristan Vautier

  • Team: Schmidt Peterson Motorsports
  • Engine: Honda
  • Sponsors: Florida Lottery (St. Petersburg only)
  • 2012: Firestone Indy Lights Champion, Four Wins, Five Poles, Seven Podiums

2012 WRAP: After winning the 2011 Pro Mazda title, Vautier advanced to Firestone Indy Lights with Sam Schmidt Motorsports and continued the team’s dominant legacy in the series by earning them their sixth overall Lights title (and third in a row). The young Frenchman triumphed at St. Petersburg, Milwaukee, Trois-Rivieres and Baltimore en route to winning the championship by eight points over Esteban Guerreri of Argentina.

2013 OUTLOOK: Vautier has definitely earned his drive in the big leagues after consecutive titles along the Road To Indy development ladder. He’ll have an obvious learning curve to contend with, but because he’s stayed with the Schmidt camp for his jump to IndyCar, that curve shouldn’t be as steep as it could’ve been had he gone somewhere else. He’s been solid in off-season testing, and while a win may be too much to ask, it would nonetheless not be surprising to see him have some very good moments in 2013.

Marco Andretti to drive throwback scheme to honor 25th anniversary of grandfather Mario’s last win

Photo courtesy Andretti-Herta Autosport
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Marco Andretti wanted to do something really special to honor the 25th anniversary of grandfather Mario Andretti’s final Indy car win in 1993 at Phoenix International Raceway (now known as ISM Raceway).

So the third-generation Andretti, along with his team, Andretti-Herta Autosport, came up with a plan and design that will take longtime race fans back in time when it appears early next month for the Phoenix Grand Prix.

Marco Andretti’s No. 98 Oberto Beef Jerky Circle K/Curb Honda will be decked out in the colors of the car his grandfather won his last race on the one-mile short track 25 years ago.

“When the idea of a throwback livery celebrating my grandfather’s final win was thrown around, Oberto was ready to get to the drawing board,” Marco Andretti said in a media release. “The black, white and red car resembles many of my family’s race cars and was a big part of my life growing up.

“It’s really cool to be able to add one of my cars to that family legacy.”

The car is a virtual double of the legendary Newman-Haas Racing and Texaco/Havoline-sponsored car Mario drove on that celebratory day in the Valley of the Sun 2 ½ decades ago.

Various events and ceremonies during the April 6-7 race weekend will honor the senior Andretti. That includes several of his former competitors who will be on hand to celebrate with Mario, including Emerson Fittipaldi, Bobby Rahal, Jimmy Vasser, Paul Tracy, Arie Luyendyk, and of course, son Michael Andretti and grandson Marco Andretti.

Check out what happened on that day 25 years ago:

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