In a sense, IndyCar driver Marco Andretti will be wearing a management hat under his racing helmet during the upcoming 2019 IndyCar Series season.
Andretti Autosport announced Thursday that the grandson of legendary Mario Andretti and son of team primary owner Michael Andretti will take “an enhanced role in the No. 98 team’s entry” in 2019.
As a result, the team is changing its name to Andretti Herta Autosport with Marco Andretti and Curb-Agajanian.
“I’m happy and proud to invest back into the team that I have been with for 13 seasons and counting,” Marco Andretti said in a media release. “I truly believe this is the best team out there and I’m looking forward to a fun, competitive future with the U.S. Concrete No. 98 family.”
The third-generation Andretti family racer’s enhanced role will not be as a part-owner, but rather as a “partner,” according to a team spokesperson, meaning that in addition to racing, he’ll likely also be more involved in the business and management side of the No. 98 team.
“I’m proud to see Marco looking beyond the racing seat and taking a vested interest in not just his car entry, but the future of motorsport that can one day take him beyond his driving career,” Michael Andretti said. “Marco has many driving years ahead of him and many victories yet to come but is continuing to see the big picture of racing and that will in turn make him a stronger competitor all around.”
Andretti finished ninth in the 2018 IndyCar Series standings, his best season finish since back-to-back ninth-place finishes in 2014 and 2015. His best finishes in 2018 were fourth at Belle Isle I (where he also earned his first pole since 2013) and fifth in the season-ending race at Sonoma.
Andretti Autosport will return for 2019 with its driving lineup intact from 2018, with Ryan Hunter-Reay, Alexander Rossi and Zach Veach, in addition to Marco in the satellite Andretti Herta Autosport w/ Marco Andretti & Curb-Agajanian entry.
The 2019 IndyCar Series opens March 10 in St. Petersburg, Florida.