Andretti Autosport working to finalize fourth IndyCar for 2015

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The fourth full-time car for Andretti Autosport is one of the hot-button items this Verizon IndyCar Series offseason, and while budget isn’t fully finalized for the car yet, team principal Michael Andretti still hopes to have it completed shortly.

“We’re working on it; we’re working on four, and hoping for five (cars),” Andretti told MotorSportsTalk in an interview promoting the Indy Grand Prix of Louisiana this weekend.

The team is finalizing its commercial partnership with United Fiber & Data, which served as primary sponsor for both James Hinchcliffe in IndyCar and Matthew Brabham in Indy Lights Presented by Cooper Tires this past season. Hinchcliffe has since departed for Schmidt Peterson Motorsports, where he will become that team’s lead driver.

“We’re working on (UFD) right now,” Andretti said. “But we couldn’t get that done in time for Hinch. I told Hinch, ‘Don’t let the other opportunity go away, because I can’t guarantee it.’ So unfortunately we couldn’t get it done in time for him, but we’re getting close.”

Andretti spoke very highly of Daniel Abt, the German GP2 and FIA Formula E driver who tested for the team a couple weeks ago at Barber Motorsports Park.

“Daniel, we were all very impressed with him,” Andretti said. “He didn’t put a wheel wrong. He was right on pace. He provided great feedback and is a nice guy. We had very good feedback on him.”

In terms of other programs, while a Mazda Road to Indy return in both Indy Lights and Pro Mazda is expected, a sports car program is not on the front burner.

Andretti said “there’s a chance” the team could be involved in either the TUDOR United SportsCar Championship or Pirelli World Challenge, but no announcement is imminent of a program there.

As for a quick reflection on the 2014 season, Andretti said even despite Ryan Hunter-Reay’s Indianapolis 500 victory, he was frustrated to not have the team achieve more.

“We left a lot on the table,” he admitted. “We had cars that should have been in championship hunt. It was great to come away with the Indy 500.

“But we were in a lot of other races, where due to bad luck or whatever it was, didn’t get the results. Hopefully we can capitalize on the times when we can win more often.”

Three-time W Series champ Jamie Chadwick joining Andretti in Indy NXT Series for 2023

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Jamie Chadwick, the three-time W Series champion, will drive for Andretti Autosport in the Indy NXT Series next season.

Chadwick will make her debut in an American racing series in March, driving the No. 28 for Andretti Autosport with sponsorship from DHL. The 24-year-old will become the first female driver in 13 years to compete full time in the Indy NXT championship.

Chadwick joined the female free-to-enter W Series in its inaugural 2019 season, winning two races and the first of three consecutive championships. She has been a reserve driver for the Williams Formula One team and will continue in that role in 2023. She also has driven in the Extreme E Series.

Despite her success, Chadwick hasn’t landed a bigger ride in F3 or F2, and her break didn’t come until Michael Andretti contacted her and offered a test in an Indy NXT car.

The final three races of this year’s W Series schedule were canceled when funding fell through, but Chadwick still believes the all-female series was the right path for her.

“W Series has always been and will continue to be an opportunity to be racing for every female driver, so for my side, I looked at it while perhaps I would have liked to step up maybe earlier, at the same time being able to have that chance to race, get that experience, have that development, seat time… I was constantly learning,” Chadwick told The Associated Press.

“In that sense, I wasn’t frustrated at all. But on the flip side of it, now I’ve had that experience testing in the United States in Indy NXT and this is something I’m really excited about.”

Chadwick also is expected to have an enhanced role as a development driver next season with Williams, which chose American driver Logan Sargeant to fill its open seat on next year’s F1 grid.

“Andretti Autosport is proud to be supporting Jamie alongside DHL,” said Michael Andretti. “Jamie’s successful career speaks for itself, but Indy NXT gives Jamie the opportunity to continue her development in a new type of racing.

“We’ve turned out five Indy NXT champions over the years and look forward to continuing our role in developing new talent.”

Indy NXT is the new name of the rebranded Indy Lights Series, the final step on the ladder system before IndyCar.

Andretti will field two drivers next season in IndyCar that were developed in Indy NXT: Kyle Kirkwood, the 2021 champion, will return to Andretti after one season in IndyCar driving for A.J. Foyt Racing, and Devlin DeFrancesco is back for a second season.

Chadwick will be teammates in Indy NXT with Hunter McElrea and Louis Foster. She becomes Andretti’s second full-time female driver alongside Catie Munnings, who competes for Andretti United in the Extreme E Series.