INDIANAPOLIS – Harding Racing will add a second Chevrolet-powered IndyCar to their lineup for the Grand Prix of Sonoma next weekend at Sonoma Raceway.
Indy Lights presented by Cooper Tires champion Patricio O’Ward will pilot the No. 8 entry, while reigning Freedom 100 winner and Indy Lights runner-up Colton Herta will drive the No. 88 machine.
Both drivers will be making their Verizon IndyCar Series debuts at Sonoma.
Herta and O’Ward are recent Mazda Road to Indy graduates. In Herta’s two years of competing in the Indy Lights Presented by Cooper Tires championship, Herta earned six wins, ten pole positions and 20 podium finishes.
Meanwhile, O’Ward finished his tenure of Indy Lights with nine wins, nine pole positions and 14 podiums.
“We’re really happy with how Patricio did in the car at Sonoma,” said team general manager Brian Barnhart. “Coupling that with the excellent job that Colton did in Portland earlier in August, Harding Racing is really excited about being able to provide their Verizon IndyCar Series race day debuts next week at Sonoma.”
“I’m super happy to get my start in IndyCar next weekend for the Sonoma Grand Prix,” said Herta. “Mike Harding and Brian Barnhart have been very supportive in this effort and I can’t think of a better place to get my start in IndyCar. There are too many people to thank for this opportunity, but I’m very thankful for Harding Racing.”
O’Ward tested with Harding Racing at Sonoma on Thursday, his first time in an Indy car.
“Really happy how the day ended,” said O’Ward. “We were very quick, and the car felt very good. The differences between the Lights and these cars are insanely different. The amount of grip and the amount of power that these cars have is just something different, I’ve never driven something this fast.
“Around Sonoma the difference in this aero makes the car so much heavier and the braking capabilities of these type of brakes are amazing. They’re very strong,” O’Ward continued. “The car is extremely difficult, so I’m going to have to go to the gym. I’m just super happy with how the day ended and I honestly could not have imagined the car being better. It is a monster. It is a beast. I’m really looking forward to the race weekend, I know we’re going to be pretty strong.”
O’Ward and Herta will become the third and fourth drivers to race for the Harding team this season, joining regular team driver Gabby Chaves and Conor Daly, who piloted the No. 88 in three races earlier in the summer.