FONTANA, Calif. — Honda has traded one super team for another.
Two weeks after learning that Chip Ganassi Racing was leaving the manufacturer for Chevrolet, Honda added Andretti Autosport as its signature team in the IZOD IndyCar Series, signing a multi-year contract with the team.
“We look forward to working with Honda again; for us, it’s like being back home. I have no doubt that together we will see great success,” said Michael Andretti, the team’s chairman, president and CEO.
The Indianapolis-based team has competed as part of Team Chevy for the last two seasons, winning the championship in 2012 with Ryan Hunter-Reay. Prior to the return of the IndyCar manufacture competition in 2011, Andretti captured three series championships with Honda (2004, 2005, 2007), as well as two Indianapolis 500 victories (2005, 2007). Since its inception in 2003, Andretti Autosport has captured 48 IndyCar Series victories – 39 of those under Honda power.
“We’re extremely happy to welcome Michael Andretti and his Andretti Autosport organization back into the Honda Racing family,” said Art St. Cyr, President, Honda Performance Development. “As many of you will remember, the Andretti organization played a major role in Honda’s success during the previous era of manufacturer competition in Indy car racing, and we’re looking forward to adding more victories and championships to an already impressive total.”
Honda has been a fixture in North American open-wheel racing since 1994 and has played an active role in the growth of Indy car racing — as both a Manufacturers’ Championship competitor and single engine supplier — since joining the series in 2003.
The company scored its first of nine consecutive Indianapolis 500 victories in 2004. Honda won Manufacturers’ Championships in 2004 and 2005, and captured the drivers’ championships with Andretti drivers Tony Kanaan (2004) and Wheldon (2005).
Honda became engine supplier to the entire IZOD IndyCar Series in 2006, and supplied racing engines to the full, 33-car Indianapolis 500 field each year from 2006-2011. For a record six-consecutive years, the ‘500’ ran without a single engine failure, and the 2010 Indianapolis 500 marked Honda’s 100th race win as a manufacturer and engine supplier in IZOD IndyCar Series competition.
Chevrolet, meanwhile, thanked Andretti Autosport for its success, including winning the IndyCar championship last season with Chevrolet engines.
“We’d like to thank Michael Andretti and the entire Andretti Autosport organization for their partnership in IndyCar Series competition during 2012 and 2013,” said Jim Campbell, U.S. Vice President Performance Vehicles and Motorsports. “Michael, J-F Thormann and John Lopes lead a quality organization that resulted in Ryan Hunter-Reay winning the 2012 IndyCar Series driver championship. We would like to thank the Andretti Autosport drivers for their on-track achievements that contributed to Chevrolet clinching the 2012 manufacturers’ championship. They are all true professionals on and off the track. We wish them well and look forward to spirited competition in the future.”