Colton Herta to Andretti Harding Steinbrenner Autosport in 2020

Leave a comment

MONTEREY, California – A major IndyCar team move that has been widely reported for the past month by NBCSports.com is finally “official.”

Colton Herta, 19, will become the fifth driver at Andretti Autosport in 2020, the team announced Saturday just before qualifying for the season finale at Laguna Seca Raceway.

The team will join forces with Harding Steinbrenner Racing in a partnership known as Andretti Harding Steinbrenner Autosport with HSR team principals Mike Harding and George Michael Steinbrenner, IV joining Michael Andretti as partners in the team.

This year, Andretti Technologies served as the engineering partner to Harding Steinbrenner Racing with Harding and Steinbrenner in the leadership roles.

“I’m really excited about the announcement to bring our partnerships with Harding Steinbrenner closer together,” Andretti said Saturday. “This partnership and expansion of Andretti Autosport will bring about a positive direction and new opportunities for all involved.

“I’m also thrilled to be able to keep Colton in the Andretti family. We’ve watched him grow and develop, and we are excited to see the next chapter as he continues his charge in becoming a strong competitive force in the IndyCar Series.”

Herta will continue to drive the No. 88 Capstone Energy Honda but officially will become teammates with Andretti Autosport drivers Alexander Rossi, Ryan Hunter-Reay, Zach Veach and Marco Andretti.

“It’s always been a goal of mine to drive for Andretti Autosport ever since watching my dad drive for them in the mid-2000s,” Herta said. “I’m very thankful for the Steinbrenners and Mike Harding for their efforts through my career and continued efforts into this year. I’ve grown up around the Andretti team and many of the guys that have been working there since my dad’s days of driving are still with the team. I’m sure I’ll feel right at home.

“I can for sure tell you this is going to be the longest offseason I’ve had in a while, and I can’t wait to hop in my brand-new Andretti Harding Steinbrenner Indy car.”

Herta, who climbed the European racing ranks before joining Andretti Autosport for the 2017 and 2018 Indy Lights seasons, currently ranks third in the IndyCar Rookie of the Year standings with one win and five top-10 finishes.

George Michael Steinbrenner IV is the grandson of the late New York Yankees team owner George Steinbrenner and son of Yankees vice chairman Hank Steinbrenner.

“We are extremely excited to be continuing and expanding our partnership with Andretti Autosport,” Steinbrenner said. “Andretti has become like family to me and the team as we have shared a connection since the very beginning of Steinbrenner Racing. We see this as an opportunity to build upon a successful 2019 and create an environment of sustained competitiveness. We are thrilled we have been able to retain Colton’s services and look forward to a fruitful tenure together.”

Steinbrenner was asked by NBCSports.com if that meant the leadership of the No. 88 team would remain intact (including president Brian Barnhart). Steinbrenner said, “All leadership decisions for next year have yet to be determined.”

Next up for Andretti Autosport will be finalizing a satellite arrangement with Meyer Shank Racing in an engineering alliance similar to what Harding Steinbrenner had with Andretti in 2019.

Australia SuperCar Champion gets IndyCar Test at Team Penske

GETTY IMAGES
GETTY Images
Leave a comment

Scott McLaughlin’s latest reward for winning the 2019 Virgin Australia SuperCar championship is an INDYCAR test at Team Penske.

“Scott has been incredibly successful for DJR Team Penske over the last three seasons and he has become a true champion of our sport,” said team owner Roger Penske, who will become the owner of INDYCAR, the Indianapolis Motor Speedway and the Indianapolis 500 in early January. “He certainly embraces new challenges and we think this is a great opportunity to utilize the IndyCar Series rookie testing program so Scott can experience what it is like to get behind the wheel of one of our Indy cars.”

McLaughlin, who has scored back-to-back Virgin Australia Supercars Champion for DJR Team Penske (DJRTP), will participate in an INDYCAR Rookie Evaluation test at Sebring International Raceway in Sebring, Fla. on Monday, January 13.

“I am always open to new challenges and I’m thankful to Team Penske for providing this opportunity to test an Indy car,” said McLaughlin, who established a new Supercars single season record with 18 victories this past season. “We had an amazing year in 2019 and I’m looking forward to defending our Supercars championship next season. I’m also excited to grow as a driver and being with Team Penske creates cool opportunities to try something new. Although I have spent a few hours in a simulator earlier this year, it’s going to be a blast to see what one really feels like at a place like Sebring.”

McLaughlin joined DJR Team Penske in 2017 as one of the brightest stars in Supercars. He has produced 35 victories and 44 pole positions over the last three seasons while helping DJRTP claim team championships in 2017 and 2019, the driver’s title each of the last two seasons and the legendary Bathurst 1000 race in October, along with co-driver Alex Premat.

McLaughlin will defend his Supercars title for DJRTP in 2020 in the No. 17 Shell V-Power Ford Mustang.  He will build on his already successful racing career by driving a full-sized open-wheel car for the first time.

Team Penske enjoyed another successful IndyCar Series season in 2019. The team earned its record 18th Indianapolis 500 victory as Simon Pagenaud captured the checkered flag in May, while Josef Newgarden won his second series title in three years and the team’s 16th INDYCAR Championship. Team Penske will once again compete with three full-season entries in 2020, featuring series champion drivers Newgarden, Pagenaud and Will Power.

Team Penske is one of the most successful teams in the history of professional sports. Cars owned and prepared by Team Penske have produced more than 540 major race wins, over 620 pole positions and 37 Championships across open-wheel, stock car and sports car racing competition. Over the course of its 53-year history, the team has also earned 18 Indianapolis 500 victories, two Daytona 500 Championships, a Formula 1 win, overall victories in the 24 Hours of Daytona and the 12 Hours of Sebring along with a win in Australia’s legendary Bathurst 1000 race. Team Penske currently competes in the IndyCar Series, the NASCAR Cup Series, the NASCAR Xfinity Series and the IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship. The team also races in the Virgin Australia SuperCars Championship, in a partnership with Dick Johnson Racing, as DJR Team Penske.

Follow Bruce Martin on Twitter at @BruceMartin_500