Andretti team adds to top engineers
Speed.com reports that Andretti Autosport have hired a pair of top-tier engineers, along with making two key promotions to complete its 2013 engineering lineup.
After spending 2012 in a consultancy role with Dragon Racing on behalf of Newman/Haas Racing , NHR’s Craig Hampson will rekindle his working relationship with 2011 NHR rookie James Hinchcliffe as engineer for the Chevy-powered Go Daddy entry.
Hampson’s history and experience, which includes Sebastien Bourdais’ run to four consecutive Champ Car titles, should transform Hinchcliffe from a future star into a bona fide winner.
“I wouldn’t be making the move and taking on the challenge if I didn’t think we could win,” he continued. “I’m eager to see how James has grown as a driver. I’m sure he has evolved a lot with his feel and feedback. It’s tough leaving Newman/Haas. I was starting my 20th year here and it took an extraordinary situation like this with Andretti to make the move.” zzzz
A formal announcement on Andretti’s expansion to four cars is expected early next week, and when that driver straps into his chassis, the team confirmed he’ll have veteran Michael Cannon calling the shots.
Cannon, who led the engineering efforts at Ed Carpenter Racing through the 2012 Indy 500, relinquished the position after a medical issue required prolonged attention.
Now back to full strength, the veteran of Players/Forsythe Racing and HVM Racing will collaborate with Hampson and others to try and maintain Andretti’s engineering edge.
“It’s a well-oiled machine,” said Cannon. “It will be an interesting dynamic working with Craig Hampson, Ray Gosselin, Blair Perschbacher, and even (former KV Racing engineer) Garrett Mothersead. It’s a talent-rich engineering environment, for sure. For me, it’s excellent to be joining Andretti. The drivers are so impressive, the experience within the team is impressive and the overall environment is genuinely pleasant.”
Marco Andretti will have Blair Perschbacher, the team’s championship-winning Firestone Indy Lights engineer, move up to oversee the No. 26 car.
While the full-time IndyCar engineering position will be new for Perschbacher, Andretti says it won’t take long for the two to click.
“I worked with Blair when I drove A1GP and we were able to put a car on the podium in Malaysia, so we had a good start working together,” he noted. “I think we will be a strong, practical pair. He is a solid guy and makes very methodical changes.”
Perschbacher is understandably excited to move up from his role as a full-time Indy Lights and part-time IndyCar engineer to focusing solely on Andretti’s program.
“The challenge of engineering an IndyCar will be interesting after years of Indy Lights,” he said. “Marco is really motivated and has been working hard to do even better, so that’s a great starting point for me. We sat in the same room last year when I engineered Sebastian Saavedra in Andretti’s fourth car, and we did one test together so far and it went well. I’m looking forward to working with Michael Cannon and Craig Hampson and all the guys because I can learn a lot and think we can make a pretty effective team.”
Ray Gosselin, who continues with RHR as engineer of the No. 27, has also been tabbed as Andretti’s new technical director.
"We lost some good guys out the door but got some amazing people coming in through the door," said Gosselin. "We have some incredible resources with accomplished guys like Craig and Michael, and Blair has been working away in his role for weeks now and Garrett will look after our project engineering, so it's a great group to collaborate with."
“I’m excited about the additions to our IndyCar engineering line up,” said team owner Michael Andretti. “With Ray (Gosselin) as our new Technical Director, Blair (Perschbacher) moving up from (Firestone) Indy Lights to work with Marco (Andretti) and the addition of Craig (Hampson) and Michael (Cannon) I think we have the strongest engineering line up in the paddock.”