Bryan Herta Autosport to debut in Firestone Indy Lights
The Indy Racing League will see a new team join the Firestone Indy Lights paddock in 2009 as Bryan Herta and Steve Newey are the proud owners of the newly formed, Bryan Herta Autosport.
"Steve Newey approached me with the concept of starting our own Indy Lights team back in December, " explained Herta, "and in just six weeks we are almost ready to hit the road for our first test. I'm very excited about the opportunity to take on a new challenge in open wheel racing as a team owner, and am confident that we have assembled a formidable program."
The young Firestone Indy Lights team has formed a technical alliance with Vision Racing, basing themselves in the IndyCar team's 32,000 square foot Indianapolis facility in order to take full advantage of Vision's resources and expertise. Herta will also continue his role with Vision Racing as the team's Road Course Consultant.
"The opportunity to link this team with Vision Racing and continue my involvement with their IndyCar Series program is really the best of both worlds," says Herta. "None of this would have been possible without the support and guidance of Tony George and his staff at Vision Racing. Now the hard part begins as we know the level of competition is extremely high in the Firestone Indy Lights Championship, but we look forward to measuring ourselves against the series' best in the season ahead."
Vision Team owner Tony George went on to add, "This opportunity to support Bryan Herta Autosport came about as a result of Bryan working with our team as a consultant during the 2008 season. Bryan has come to some conclusions as to how he thinks he wants to be involved in our sport in the years to come and we both share an interest in working with people who aspire to be successful in our sport. I am happy to work with BHA to help establish this new team, as anytime I can assist in cultivating new team owners I consider it a positive effort and we look forward to supporting their aspirations."
No stranger to developing competitive open wheel racing programs, BHA co-owner Steven Newey commented, "I am really looking forward to the challenge of competing in the Firestone Indy Lights series."
With involvement at the highest level of racing for more than 20 years, Newey went on to add, "Bryan Herta and I have worked together successfully in the past so I am confident that we will build a competitive program and challenge for the championship this year. We are fortunate to be in a position to have access to the resources of the Vision IndyCar team. It will certainly provide our team with a very solid foundation as we get the program underway."
The team's first order of business was to secure the services of a young and up-and-coming American Indy Lights driver, 22-year-old Daniel Herrington of North Carolina.
"Daniel has shown great potential in the last couple seasons in sporadic outings," Herta explained, "and we are happy to give him his first real home in the Indy Lights Series with a full winter test program and a team that is 100% committed to giving him the tools to succeed."
Newey added, "I am looking forward to working with Daniel Herrington as he has been recognized as a talented young driver who has the potential to develop into a champion."
"I'm really excited about this opportunity with Bryan Herta Autosport ," said Herrington who has competed in 13 Firestone Indy Lights Series races and posted seven top-10 finishes. "The past couple years I've been working towards a full season of racing in Indy Lights but I either didn't have full sponsorship support or I didn't have the right opportunity come my way. This time I was lucky enough to have everything come together at the right time and now I have the perfect opportunity to learn and grow as a driver. "
In the 2007 off-season Herrington showed encouraging results in Champ Car Atlantic testing, running in the top-10 of a very competitive field. Although, Herrington was unable to secure funding for a full season, the experience was a valuable one and opened some doors for the 2008 season.
That spring Herrington secured sponsorship for three race weekends (5 races) in the Indy Lights Series, where he started on pole in the second race at Watkins Glen International, led three laps, and finished a career best third.
In 2008, Herrington competed in eight (8) Indy Lights races with Michael Crawford Racing (4 starts) and RLR Andersen Racing (4 starts). He hopes to build on those experiences under the tutelage of team owner Bryan Herta.
"It's fantastic to be able to work with someone with as much racing knowledge and experience as Bryan (Herta)," Herrington said. "He's a genuinely nice guy who has a lot to offer young American drivers like myself and I intend on being a sponge and soaking it all up."
Bryan Herta Autosport has already begun preparations for the upcoming 2009 season as it expects to test February 11-12 at Firebird East in Arizona. While primary sponsorship announcements are pending, the team is also actively pursuing plans to field a second car and is currently in on-going discussions with drivers for that seat.