INDIANAPOLIS – After 15 seasons as a full-time NTT IndyCar Series driver, Marco Andretti is ready to change gears.
Andretti, the son of Andretti Autosport owner Michael Andretti and grandson of racing legend Mario Andretti, announced via a Twitter post Friday that he is planning to scale back his driving plans.
“Upon some careful thought over the past couple of months, I have made the decision to make some changes to my racing activities and focus for 2021,” Andretti said Friday. “I recently shared the decision and the changes that I want to make with my dad and have spoken at length with him about it. I appreciate his openness and for allowing me the flexibility to map out my own course going forward.”
🚨ANNOUNCEMENT: 🏁 pic.twitter.com/c64puKWbCA
— Marco Andretti (@MarcoAndretti) January 15, 2021
“Marco and I have discussed this at length,” said Michael Andretti. “I both support and respect his decision to take a focus on other areas of life, and maybe even other forms of motorsport. We were working on a full-season IndyCar entry for him, but he decided he wanted to take a different direction and I respect him for making that decision.
“I think for any multi-generational athlete, it can be really challenging to find your own ground and make your own name on top of your family’s. Marco has always had the courage to chart his own path and I’m proud of the career he’s built for himself and the person he’s become. I know this decision wasn’t easy.
“But, like he has said, this is not retirement. He has some great accomplishments behind him and I think he still has many more ahead of him. He’s offered to help us out with some testing, I’m looking forward to having him back with us for the 500, and hopefully maybe a few more races through the season.”
In 248 NTT IndyCar Series races, Andretti has scored two victories. His first came during his rookie season in 2006 at Sonoma (Calif.) Raceway and his second came in in 2011 at Iowa Speedway. His best championship finish came in 2013, when he was ranked fifth in the IndyCar standings.
In his statement, Andretti confirmed that while he will not run the full NTT IndyCar Series schedule, he does plan to compete in the 2021 running of the Indianapolis 500 at Indianapolis Motor Speedway in May.
In 15 starts in the Indianapolis 500, Andretti has finished on the podium three times. He finished second in a photo finish during his Indianapolis 500 debut in 2006 and started from the pole during the 2020 Indianapolis 500.
“I remain very hungry to win the Indy 500,” Andretti said. “It is our biggest stage and the place that I feel I bring the most to the table as a driver. I’ve come close there and am in the mix there it seems every year. Winning the pole there last year was awesome, but that isn’t enough. I know that a victory there is in my future so we’ll try to get that done in the coming years.
“As such, I have committed to and am looking forward to running the Indy 500 with Andretti Autosport this year.”
In addition to the Indianapolis 500, Andretti said he may compete in a few additional NTT IndyCar Series events to remain in racing shape. He has also offered to help the team with testing and other activities. He also plans to remain involved as co-owner of the No. 98 entry fielded by the Andretti Autosport team.
“I will also entertain other options amongst the IndyCar paddock as well as different opportunities in all of motorsports,” Andretti said.
He also confirmed he’d like to compete in sports car events, potentially alongside his cousin Jarett Andretti.
“I also want to do some sports car racing – maybe even get the chance to do some IMSA racing with my cousin Jarett, which would be a lot of fun for me,” Andretti said. “I’ll be looking into other sports car opportunities as well in the coming months and would welcome discussions in that regard. Marquee events like the 24 Hours of Daytona, 12 Hours of Sebring and Le Mans would be on that list.”