Andretti set to continue Indy Lights, Pro Mazda programs

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Michael Andretti’s ever-expanding empire that includes Andretti Autosport and Andretti Sports Marketing has long had a history in the Mazda Road to Indy – at one point, Andretti fielded a team in all three of Indy Lights, Pro Mazda, and USF2000.

While the USF2000 program went away for 2014, the Indy Lights Presented by Cooper Tires and Pro Mazda Championship Presented by Cooper Tires programs continued.

Despite some rumors that one or the other may be going away for 2015, Andretti is expected to continue with both.

In an interview with MotorSportsTalk from the Alabama-LSU game, where Andretti is promoting the new Indy Grand Prix of Louisiana this weekend, he said to expect both programs to be back in 2015.

“We’re getting close. Two Mazdas and working on two Indy Lights,” Andretti told MST. “I’m happy to report that, because I think we’ll be back in. There was a time we couldn’t say that.”

Andretti has a deep farm system, with Matthew Brabham and Zach Veach having run in Lights this past season, and Garett Grist and Shelby Blackstock in Pro Mazda.

Andretti has also tested Neil Alberico and Dalton Kellett in the team’s two Pro Mazda cars this offseason.

At Milwaukee earlier this year, Andretti said he was unsure if he and the team could commit to the new Dallara IL15 chassis citing costs.

But an Andretti return for 2015 would be huge news for the series, as it would ensure another two cars on the grid from the current field and keep a championship-winning operation in the field, to add legitimacy to what’s already set to be an increased grid.

Stay tuned for more next week from our conversation with Andretti related to some of his and the company’s other programs.

NEOM McLaren Formula E announces Jake Hughes will join Rene Rast for 2023 season

McLaren Formula E Hughes
McLaren Racing
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Doubling down on their commitment to electric auto sports, McLaren Racing announced Jake Hughes will join Rene Rast to compete in the 2023 Formula E Series (FE), which completes their driver lineup.

The NEOM McLaren FE team was formed by the acquisition of the Mercedes-EQ Formula E team that won the 2021 and 2022 championships with Stoffel Vandoorne and Nyck de Vries behind the wheel.

“Today’s announcement feels like a long time coming,” said Ian James, managing director of NEOM McLaren Electric Racing in a release. “Since May this year, when we first announced McLaren Racing’s entry into Formula E, we have been working tirelessly to get in place the best possible team and structure for sustainable success.

“On the one hand, we have been working on the retention of the amazing talent that already was in place before going into the transitional phase. I’m proud to say I think we’ve done a great job on that front.

“On the other hand, we have been focusing on putting in place new processes and new talent – and the latter includes the drivers.”

The driver lineup clasps the two hands together.

Hughes brings 10 years racing experience in single seater cars, including a role with the acquired Mercedes-EQ team as a reserve and development driver for the past two seasons. He is the 2013 BRDC Formula 4 champion and has multiple wins in Formula 2, including two in 2020.

 

Announced in August, Rast joins the team after earning two podium finishes and six top-fives in 22 career Formula E starts for Audi Sport ABT before returning to the DTM Series last year. Rast’s best finish in Formula E came in the Puebla E Prix when he finished second to teammate Lucas di Grassi by less than a half second.

McLaren’s commitment to Formula E comes one year after they entered the Extreme E rally series in 2022 with Tanner Foust and Emma Gilmour in the driver lineup. After a modest start to the season, the McLaren XE drivers crossed the finish line first in Round 4 in Chile, but were assessed a time penalty that dropped them to fifth. Last week in the season finale in Uruguay, they held onto a hard-earned second place finish.