Andretti Global will move forward with three full-time NTT IndyCar Series entries.
“There will be just the three,” Andretti COO Rob Edwards told RACER.
The decision signals an end to its recent practice of fielding a fourth car for hire by a driver bringing funding to race alongside the team’s paid professionals; prior to accepting paying drivers, Andretti used all four of its cars to compete for wins and podiums.
The expansion to four cars delivered immediate success with championships for Tony Kanaan in 2004, Dan Wheldon in 2005, and Dario Franchitti in 2007, and the change to running three comes after entering four full-time cars in 16 of the last 18 seasons.
In recent years, the Andretti team’s sustained competitiveness with four has wavered; it’s more than a decade removed from its last championship victory, earned by Ryan Hunter-Reay in the first year of IndyCar’s new chassis and engine formula in 2012.
Since the debut of the Dallara DW12 and the 2.2-liter turbocharged V6 motors, Andretti has come close to adding another title on numerous occasions, with former driver Alexander Rossi taking second in 2018 and third in 2019, and from its current roster, Colton Herta reached third in the Drivers’ standings in 2020. But since then, the organization has taken a large step backwards with its top performers finishing ninth in 2022 and 10th in 2023.
Heading into 2024, Andretti veterans Herta and Kyle Kirkwood will be joined by former Chip Ganassi Racing driver Marcus Ericsson as its core trio, and Edwards says the Honda-powered team is seeking the same reward experienced by Team Penske which cut its fourth car after the 2021 season and reaped the benefits of being smaller and more efficient by capturing the 2022 IndyCar title with Will Power.
“We’re definitely trying to focus our efforts and with a view to more race wins and championships and Indy 500s,” he said. “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.”
Amid the changes, Andretti will maintain continuity with the engineers attached to its three cars.
“Nathan O’Rourke will continue to work with Colton and Jeremy Milless will continue to work with Kyle, which obviously was successful last year,” Edwards said of the two wins Kirkwood delivered. “And then Olivier Boisson is going to be with Marcus and they’ve already had two or three days working together it’s working very well.”
Andretti will also enter the Indy 500 with a smaller effort of four cars in place of its familiar five.
“The plan is certainly to be four at the 500,” Edwards added. “There’s no anticipated plan to run more than that. Obviously, the 500 is super important and so that same drive to focus on the three cars for season would lead us to only add the one car for the 500.”
Since retiring from IndyCar at the end of 2020, Marco Andretti has returned to pilot an extra entry at the last three Indy 500s with a best performance of 17th last May.