Andretti team announces 2013 IndyCar lineup, RHR to run No. 1
INDIANAPOLIS - The open-wheel race team Andretti Autosport announced their 2013 INDYCAR line up today at an event held at the team's Indianapolis-based racing headquarters. With a full-time stable of three IZOD IndyCar Series entries, two Firestone Indy Lights entries, two Star Mazda entries and entries in USF2000, team owner Michael Andretti will again claim credit to having the only team competing in every step of the Mazda Road to Indy ladder.
The reigning IZOD IndyCar Series Championship team will be led into 2013 by a familiar trio of IndyCar drivers as Ryan Hunter-Reay, James Hinchcliffe and Marco Andretti and will return for full-season efforts. Hunter-Reay, who clinched the 2012 Series Championship in a season-finale showdown at Auto Club Speedway in September, will showcase the honors that come with being the champion by running the No. 1 on his DHL Chevrolet for the 2013 season.
"It is a huge honor to have earned the right to run the No. 1," said Hunter-Reay. "All of us at Andretti Autosport see this as a tremendous opportunity to leverage our sponsors, brands and message for 2013 and beyond. We certainly do not underestimate the task, however I assure you we are already hard at work and will do everything possible to earn the right to carry the coveted No. 1 in future years as well."
For the 2012 season Hunter-Reay adopted the No. 28 in honor of the 28 million people living with cancer worldwide. Through his work with Racing for Cancer, an organization he helped co-found, and LIVESTRONG Hunter-Reay has strived to create awareness of the cause.
"The decision to switch to the No. 1 for the 2013 season was very tough. The No. 28 has so much meaning to so many," Continued Hunter-Reay, "but we recognized that our team, partners and sponsors have all earned the right to carry the No. 1 - we worked hard together and it's something they all deserve. Racing for Cancer's number one goal is to beat cancer and we realized that running the No. 1 with the No. 28 incorporated into the design, a very important detail to me personally, would provide us with an opportunity to strengthen the message and cause of beating cancer while at the same time recognizing our partners and sponsors dedication to excellence on, and off, the track."
Hunter-Reay won't be the only Andretti Autosport driver to mix up the spotter guide this season. After seven seasons of running No. 26, Andretti is stepping down a digit to feature 25 on the 2013 RC Cola livery of his DW12.
"The No. 26 will always be a part of me and my history in racing," said Andretti, "but I think it's grown unlucky for me - I keep hearing that from people too! I like the meaning of 25 versus 26. To me 26 is a character builder through heartache and trials and looking ahead to the No. 25 means success and leadership. It's like my chance to be reborn as a veteran driver."
Entering his third season in the IZOD IndyCar Series, Hinchcliffe, a Canadian native, will return to the No. 27 Chevrolet carrying the familiar colors of GoDaddy.com.
"For me, personally, this is the first time in my career I'll have the same team for two years in a row," said Hinchcliffe. "I'm excited to work with Go Daddy again, have the same crew and not have the learning curve at the beginning of next season. I won't have a new situation and a new team to learn and settle into and I'll have the same two teammates which great - it's just good to know that off the bat we'll be able to move forward. When the checkered flag dropped in Fontana we were able to immediately start working toward 2013 and we'll continue to work hard through the rest of the off season."
Andretti Autosport's Firestone Indy Lights effort will be made up by series race winner Carlos Munoz and Firestone Indy Lights rookie Zach Veach. Munoz, driver of the No. 26 Dialy-Ser entry, will run a full season in Firestone Indy Lights and will make his first Indianapolis 500 qualifying attempt in May. Veach, who will pilot the No. 12 K12 entry, has successfully completed three test sessions in the Firestone Indy Lights machine, most recently setting a track record at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway road course during the Mazda Road to Indy's annual Open Test.
"It's crazy to think I'm going into my fourth season in 2013 with Andretti Autosport," said Veach. "I'm still just as excited as I was the first day I joined the team and to be moving up to Firestone Indy Lights is a dream come true."
Drivers Shelby Blackstock will represent Andretti in the Star Mazda Championship step of the Mazda Road to Indy ladder. Blackstock, who will carry the No. 28, is familiar to the Andretti Autosport stable as he piloted a USF2000 machine for Andretti in 2012 finishing ninth in the championship points standings. Blackstock's Star Mazda teammate and the pilot of the No. 27 will be announced at a later date.
The team's USF2000 drivers will also be announced at a later time.
2013 Andretti Autosport INDYCAR Line Up
IZOD IndyCar Series
Ryan Hunter-Reay, No. 1, DHL Chevrolet
James Hinchcliffe, No. 27, GoDaddy.com Chevrolet
Marco Andretti, No. 25, RC Cola Chevrolet
Carlos Munoz, TBD, Daily-Ser Chevrolet (Indianapolis 500 only)
Firestone Indy Lights
Carlos Munoz, No. 26, Team Dialy-Ser
Zach Veach, No. 12, Team K12
Star Mazda Championship presented by Goodyear
Shelby Blackstock, No. 28, Team Starstruck
USF2000 National Championship