More birthdays: Aldo Andretti, Bourdais, Hawksworth, Bachelart, Minassian, Leitzinger, Liddell

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February 28 marks a busy day for birthdays beyond Mario Andretti, who turns 75 today. Mario’s twin brother Aldo – often overlooked – also turns 75 today.

Two current members of the Verizon IndyCar Series grid have their birthdays today, as well.

Sebastien Bourdais, the four-time Champ Car champion and current driver of the No. 11 Hydroxycut Mistic KVSH Racing Chevrolet, turns 36. He’ll be back for his second season with KVSH Racing this year, and his 11th overall in North America since coming over as a then-24-year-old rookie in 2003.

Speaking of 24-year-olds, that’s how old Jack Hawksworth turns today. The Englishman enters his fourth season in North America, and second in IndyCar, now driving the No. 41 ABC Supply Co. Honda for A.J. Foyt Enterprises. Hawksworth was presented with a birthday cake adorned with the ABC Supply Co. Wisconsin 250 at Milwaukee IndyFest Presented by the Metro Milwaukee Honda Dealers logo during the premiere of “Focus” last night.

Two former IndyCar drivers who have since moved into other arenas of the sport have birthdays today, as well.

Eric Bachelart, a two-time Indianapolis 500 starter and former Indy Lights champion who went on to have a successful career as team owner of Conquest Racing, turns 54 today. Conquest most recently ran the development project of the new Dallara IL15 Indy Lights chassis.

Bourdais’ countryman Nicolas Minassian, who achieved some success in Formula 3000 and briefly drove for Target Chip Ganassi Racing before embarking on a highly successful sports car career, turns 42. The Frenchman is expected to continue with SMP Racing, as that team shifts ts focus from the FIA World Endurance Championship to the European Le Mans Series in 2015.

One of North America’s more underrated sports car drivers, Pennsylvania native Butch Leitzinger, also has his birthday today – he turns 46. Leitzinger will be in the No. 20 Bentley Team Dyson Racing Bentley Continental GT3 in the Pirelli World Challenge this season.

Scottish sports car ace Robin Liddell also has a birthday today – he’s now 41 – and drives for Stevenson Motorsports in the Continental Tire SportsCar Challenge.

We wish them all happy birthdays.

Santino Ferrucci will drive No. 14 for AJ Foyt Racing full time in 2023 IndyCar season

Santino Ferrucci AJ Foyt
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Santino Ferrucci will return to full-time racing in the NTT IndyCar Series next season, joining AJ Foyt Racing.

Ferrucci had made eight IndyCar starts with three teams since his last full-time season in 2020 while also racing part time in the NASCAR Xfinity Series this year.

He will drive the storied No. 14 Dallara-Chevrolet for four-time Indy 500 winner A.J. Foyt’s team, which will field the car from its Waller, Texas headquarters.

“It’s incredibly exciting to be back in the INDYCAR Series full time,” Ferrucci said in a team release. “Being a part-time driver over the last two years has been hard for me, personally. I’m a race car driver, and I want to compete. Working with different teams has been exciting, and I’m proud that no matter which car I’ve raced, I’ve always shown speed and consistency. I couldn’t be more excited to join AJ Foyt Racing in the 14 Chevy. I can’t wait to make the best of it.”

Ferrucci, 24, had finished a career-best fourth in IndyCar four times, including the 104th Indy 500 in 2020. He was the 2019 Indy 500 rookie of the year with a sixth.

In nine Xfinity starts since 2021, Ferrucci has a career-best finish of 13th at Las Vegas Motor Speedway.

“I am thrilled to welcome Santino to the team,” Larry Foyt said in a release. “He’s shown a knack for getting toward the front of the field, and I think he is a racer who moves forward on race day. A.J. sees the fire in him and has enjoyed their meetings together. I think Santino’s experience will help his rookie teammate as well, so he is a great addition to our roster.”

Ferrucci will be teamed at AJ Foyt Racing with Benjamin Pedersen, who finished fifth in the 2022 Indy Lights standings. The team has yet to specify the number for Pedersen’s entry, which will be fielded out of its Indianapolis race shop.

Foyt’s two full-time drivers last season were Dalton Kellett and Kyle Kirkwood, who is moving to Andretti Autosport.