Herta, Andretti merge for fourth car in 2016 IndyCar season
Bryan Herta Autosport and Andretti Autosport have announced a partnership whereby Herta’s No. 98 Honda will be the fourth Andretti Autosport full-season car in the 2016 Verizon IndyCar Series season.
Herta himself will remain involved as he takes to the timing stand, filling the role of race strategist for the No. 98 and overall team driver coach. The team’s fourth full-season driver will be announced at a later date.
The move ends an offseason of uncertainty for BHA, which reportedly has had some behind-the-scenes issues trying to raise the necessary funds to keep the single-car entry on the grid this year.
It’s left Gabby Chaves, last year’s series and Indianapolis 500 rookie-of-the-year, in a waiting game to see the situation. Per RACER.com’s Robin Miller, despite Chaves’ undoubted promise, he won’t be retained.
However, Herta also told Miller that his 12 crew will be retained and the team’s shop will remain open for its Red Bull Global Rallycross program.
It also ensures at least a 21-car grid for the full season, with this car now confirmed alongside the three other Andretti Autosport entries, Carlos Munoz, Marco Andretti and Ryan Hunter-Reay. Yes, it’s down slightly from 2015 but it keeps the field from losing another entry.
Andretti and Herta have a past history, Herta having driven for Andretti’s team from 2003 to 2006 in IndyCar and then again in the American Le Mans Series in 2007.
“I couldn’t be more excited about this new chapeter for Bryan Herta Autosport,” Herta said. “Michael has been a long-time friend, and we certainly know that Andretti Autosport was a big part of my career. When the opportunity came together for us to strengthen our organization and merge with one of the most successful teams and names in the sport, it was really a no brainer. I’m especially proud that what we’ve built with all the employees of BHA will remain intact and become part of the fabric of Andretti Autosport.”
“Bryan is a long-time friend and I was happy to watch him build a successful Indy car team,” Andretti added. “Bringing Bryan and his crew into the family is a great opportunity for all parties to build an even stronger organization. Having Bryan’s experience is a welcome addition to the team. I’m honored to be able to carry on what he started and look forward to a competitive season.”