More details on Andretti’s GRC program coming in February

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As part of today’s 2014 team launch in Indianapolis, Andretti Autosport revealed that it was expanding once again into a new racing discipline: Global Rallycross.

In a release, the GRC said that more details of the Andretti Rallycross program – including its driver lineup for 2014 – will be revealed at the Chicago Auto Show on February 6.

With their move into GRC, the team adds yet another program to their current portfolio alongside those in the IndyCar Series, the Mazda Road to Indy (Indy Lights and Pro Mazda), and the soon-to-debut FIA Formula E Championship. The team also previously raced in sports cars with the American Le Mans Series.

“[The GRC program] is going to be a very fun program, so we’ve got a lot of stuff going on here,” team owner Michael Andretti said during the launch, which was streamed worldwide at AndrettiTV.com.

“But it’s fun. We’re in the racing business and not just IndyCar racing – we’re looking to expand and I think we’re doing it in a great way.”

AA will be entering the category as the factory team for Volkswagen, whose cars made their way into select GRC events last year as part of privateer squad Marklund Motorsport.

Among the drivers that raced those Marklund VWs were two-time World Rally Champion Carlos Sainz and two-time DTM champion Mattias Ekstrom.

Marco Andretti confident that fewer tests won’t hurt Andretti Autosport

Photo: IndyCar
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A small point of debate around the 2018 aero kit has been the manufacturer test days that took place through the Fall of 2017 and into the beginning of 2018. Chiefly, the debate has centered around teams who hadn’t participated in those manufacturer test days and if they’re starting the 2018 Verizon IndyCar Series season at a disadvantage as a result.

Team Penske, Ed Carpenter Racing, and A.J. Foyt Racing completed test days for Chevrolet, with Schmidt Peterson Motorsports and Chip Ganassi Racing doing so for Honda.

That left teams like Andretti Autosport out of the mix, with some voicing concerns as a result.

However, in a press conference during testing at ISM Raceway last weekend, Marco Andretti explained that he thinks Andretti Autosport should be able to catch up on development, citing the team’s resources – they’re the only IndyCar team with four full-time cars in their stable – and the fact that everyone is still adapting to the new kit.

“I feel like it’s early enough days that, yes, we can catch up,” Andretti said at ISM Raceway. “When there is anything new, a new car, new aero kit, at-track days are huge. We can sim all these things we want. To really get out there and confirm what we’re learning back at the shop is another thing.”

Ryan Hunter-Reay during testing at ISM Raceway. Photo: IndyCar

Andretti continued, “Yeah, I don’t think we should look at it like we’re behind the eight ball. With a four-car team, that’s where we can use it to our benefit. So far so good.”

Teammate Ryan Hunter-Reay, echoed Andretti’s sentiments, adding that while the situation is not perfect, they will need to adapt to it in order to remain competitive.

“Any time you have a new car, to put it into perspective, we’re on track three days on a road course before we get to (the season open in St. Petersburg). That’s a very short amount of time. It’s obviously not ideal, but we’re just going to lace up our boots and get on with it. That’s all you can do.”

Andretti Autosport will have one more team test, at Sebring International Raceway later on in February, before the season-opening Firestone Grand Prix of St. Petersburg.

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