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Michael Andretti, Wayne Taylor joining forces in IMSA sports car racing for 2023 season

Calvin Fish and Nate Ryan preview the 61st IMSA Rolex 24 at Daytona International Speedway.

Michael Andretti will expand his motorsports presence to the top level of sports car racing, partnering with powerhouse team owner Wayne Taylor in the IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship.

Andretti Autosport and Wayne Taylor Racing announced a long-term partnership Wednesday morning that will align the championship-caliber teams starting with the Rolex 24 at Daytona on Jan. 28-29, 2023. The deal had been in development for several months.

Wayne Taylor Racing with Andretti Autosport will field the No. 10 Konica Minolta Acura ARX-06 in the rebranded GTP top category that will feature the new LMDh prototypes.

The day-to-operations and leadership of Wayne Taylor Racing will remain unchanged, but the long-term goal is to move the Brownsburg, Indiana-based program into Andretti Global’s 525,000-square-foot headquarters that recently broke ground on 90 acres in Fishers, Indiana.

The massive shop, which is scheduled to open in 2025, is planned as the worldwide home for Andretti’s sprawling organization, which currently fields cars in IndyCar, Formula E, Indy NXT, Extreme E, Australia’s Repco Supercars Championship and Mexico’s SuperCopa series.

Michael Andretti, whose teams have won five Indy 500s and multiple IndyCar titles, also is bidding to bring a new team to Formula One next year, and Andretti Autosport already had been running since 2021 in IMSA’s LMP3 series -- winning the pole last year in its Rolex 24 debut.

That No. 36 entry, which is co-driven by Jarett Andretti, also will continue in 2023 and had been viewed as a potential step toward the top prototype division by Andretti, who openly has spoken about his racing ambitions across myriad series. Last year, Andretti told reporters about his F1 dream that “we always wanted to get to the pinnacle. This is the pinnacle of auto racing. For us, there are other series I’m looking at getting involved in, too, and being in all the top races and series in the world, that’s our goal and my partners’ goal.”

In a release Wednesday about his new deal with Taylor, Andretti said “this is an exciting time for us. We’re proud to be returning to the IMSA paddock in this way and the opportunity to be part of the launch of the GTP program alongside Wayne Taylor Racing and our friends at Honda Performance Development.

“Re-entering IMSA full time, and at this level, has been a goal of mine. I wanted it to be the right opportunity and at the right time, and we’ve found that. I’m looking forward to working closer with the team at WTR and meeting all the team’s strong supporters. I want to personally thank Wayne (Taylor) and (WTR vice president) Travis (Houge) for already being such great partners as we plan for a successful future.”

Wayne Taylor Racing is among the most successful teams in IMSA with four Rolex 24 victories in the past six years. The team won the 2017 DPi championship and finished second the past three seasons. WTR also has multiple victories in the Mobil 1 Twelve Hours of Sebring and Petit Le Mans.

“It’s an honor to be partnering with a name like Andretti as we enter a new era of racing,” Wayne Taylor, who also won the Rolex 24 twice as a driver, said in a release. “I was approached by Michael a year ago and, as we all know, timing is everything, especially as our GTP and GTD programs continue to grow with Acura |HPD.

“Having worked with Michael on this for nearly a year, I’m very excited to see it come together. While our 2023 program won’t look much different, there is a lot that Andretti Autosport can offer to us as we continue to build and expand. I’m looking forward to working closer with Michael (Andretti), J-F (Thormann), Rob (Edwards) and the entire Andretti team.”

Andretti also will partner with WTR on its new foray into the GTD division with the No. 93 Harrison Contracting Company Acura NSX Evo22 that will make its Michelin Endurance Cup debut next month at Daytona International Speedway. The team also will compete in the Lamborghini Super Trofeo North America series.