Andretti cuts down on IndyCar entries to three

Andretti cuts down on IndyCar entries to three

Andretti Global has confirmed that it will be cutting down its IndyCar program from four full-time entries to three for the 2024 season.

The Andretti Global IndyCar lineup for 2024 is set at a total of three cars following an eventful season marked by the departure of former Formula 1 driver Romain Grosjean and the arrival of Marcus Ericsson.

The confirmation, which was initially made public by The Race indicates that Colton Herta, Kyle Kirkwood and Marcus Ericsson will be taking up the seats of #26, #27 and #28 in the team’s revealed lineup.

The team’s fourth entry typically serves as the car that Andretti provides for paying drivers who bring their own money to the race.

The team has been open about its recent debate over whether to reduce from four cars to three or keep them at four. It comes after Marco Andretti’s full-time career came to an end, resulting in the car lineup being reduced to four cars for the 2021 season.

“There will be just the three,” said Andretti COO Rob Edwards, speaking to RACER. “We’re definitely trying to focus our efforts and with a view to more race wins and championships and Indy 500s.

“We look at what Penske did when they went from four to three, and in their case, they had four strong drivers, not ride buyers, but they still felt operationally that it was an advantage for them to do three and we see some similar advantages.

“And so we’re going to tread down that path and focus on Colton, Kyle, and Marcus.”

Andretti also extended the contracts of Kirkwood and Herta in addition to signing Ericsson from Chip Ganassi Racing in September, and the three together command apparently the highest salaries on the grid through the end of 2027.

It became apparent early in 2023 that Andretti was prepared to forgo charging a driver for a seat in its fourth entry, and after DeFrancesco left the team, it was linked to several drivers.

Since then, the team has experienced a loss of funding due to the departure of long-term sponsor DHL, which formerly provided sponsorship for the Grosjean car but is now replaced by Ericsson, and DeFrancesco’s inability to qualify for a $1 million ‘Leaders’ Circle’ payment by placing among the top 22 finishers in the championship.

Even though those aren’t believed to be the only factors behind the decline in the number of cars, it still amounts to a sizable funding loss.

Although there have been rumors since August that Tatiana Calderon’s entry could be a part of a deal Andretti was seeking, those rumors have not yet materialized.

Though it was obvious in August that Grosjean would depart, the team had debated earlier in the season whether or not to keep Grosjean and line him up alongside Ericsson. He has joined Juncos Hollinger Racing and started arbitration proceedings as he had originally intended to stay with Andretti.

Performance may also have a role in the decision to go from four to three cars. Team Penske, which won the IndyCar championship in 2022 with Will Power and ended a three-race run without an Indianapolis 500 victory this season with Josef Newgarden, is a prime example of a team that successfully made the switch to three cars for 2022.

Andretti has been taking big steps to upgrade its facilities off the track in an effort to perform more effectively. One of them is a brand-new, cutting-edge factory that will house the company’s in-house Wayne Taylor-run sportscar program set to be complete by 2025.

This could highly benefit Andretti’s endeavours in other racing series as it is currently in a bid for F1 entry.

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