Andretti Autosport working to finalize fourth IndyCar for 2015


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.”

X44 Racing win 2022 Extreme E championship as Abt Cupra score first race victory

2022 Extreme E Uruguay
Extreme E

Abt Cupra Racing’s Nasser Al-Attiyah and Klara Andersson scored their first win in the Extreme E Energy X Prix in the 2022 finale in Uruguay as Lewis Hamilton’s X44 Vida Carbon Racing drivers Sebastien Loeb and Cristina Gutierrez survived a chaotic finale to edge the 2021 champion Rosberg X Prix team of Johan Kristoffersson and Mikhaela Ahlin-Kottulinsky, by two points.

“There are so many emotions,” Andersson said in Extreme E’s coverage. “I’ve been waiting for this for so long. In my second race, first full weekend to be at the top of the podium: it’s big.”

Andersson was behind the wheel at the finish.

Rosberg Racing entered the event with a 17-point advantage over X44, but the standings were close enough that four teams remained in contention in Round 5.

“It’s a crucial weekend for us,” Loeb said in Extreme E’s coverage prior to the race. “We are not in the best position to win the championship, but the only thing we can do is try to win the race and score as many points as possible.”

The top two title contenders each crashed in qualification and were relegated to the Crazy Race, Extreme E’s version of the Last Chance Qualifier (LCQ). For the moment, they had the steepest hill to climb, but then the other two championship contending teams, Chip Ganassi Racing and Acciona Sainz Racing failed to advance from their heats.

Only one team advances from the Crazy Race, so the X44 drivers were in a must-win situation to simply keep hope alive.

More: Extreme E 2023 schedule

Ahlin-Kottulinsky and Gutierrez ran wheel to wheel into the first turn at the start of the LCQ.

The Rosberg racer experienced crash damage in that turn that damaged her front steering, but managed to limp back to the pits at the end of her two-lap stint. The team attempted to fix the steering, but incurred a penalty for having too many mechanics in the pit area.

Meanwhile, Gutierrez took the early lead, but knew she would need to sit through a five-second penalty for an incident earlier in the weekend. The female half of the gender equal pair erased the penalty by entering the Switch Zone with a five-second lead before turning the car over to Loeb.

That was all the nine-time World Rally Championship titlist needed to give him the advantage needed to win the Crazy Race.

But the championship was not over yet. X44 Racing needed to finish third or better in the five-car finale to earn enough points for the title and after advancing from the LCQ, they were forced to take the worst grid position.

A chaotic start to the Finale saw Loeb run as high the lead and low as fourth after getting pushed off course during his first lap. And that is how he entered to Switch Zone.

On her first lap, Gutierrez slammed into Molly Taylor. With one lap remaining, X44 and Gutierrez were still in fourth and the title hope was quickly evaporating, but it was announced halfway through the lap that the third-running Andretti United team would suffer a penalty for a Switch Zone infraction. The seven-second deduction for Timmy Hansen braking too late in the zone made the difference in the title.

Coming off a disappointing Copper X Prix when Tanner Foust and Emma Gilmour crossed under the checkers first, but were relegated to fifth by penalty, the McLaren pair scored their first podium of the season in second.