Andretti IndyCar drivers could get Bathurst chance

Andretti Autosport’s roster of IndyCar drivers may well be offered the chance to race at the Bathurst 1000 in the future, thanks to the new deal between the US-based team and Walkinshaw Racing in Australia.

Andretti IndyCar drivers could get Bathurst chance
 Scott Pye, Walkinshaw Racing
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Marco Andretti, Andretti Autosport Honda
Marco Andretti, Andretti Autosport Honda
Ryan Hunter-Reay, Andretti Autosport Honda
Alexander Rossi, Curb Herta - Andretti Autosport Honda
Alexander Rossi, Curb Herta - Andretti Autosport Honda
Michael Andretti
Roger Penske
 James Courtney, Walkinshaw Racing
Scott Pye, Warren Luff, HSV Racing, James Courtney, Jack Perkins, Walkinshaw Racing
 James Courtney, Walkinshaw Racing, Scott Pye, Walkinshaw Racing

It was announced yesterday that Andretti Autosport has entered into a three-way Supercars team ownership deal with Walkinshaw Racing and United Autosports, with the Walkinshaw squad set to be renamed Andretti Walkinshaw United for next season.

One potential byproduct of the deal could be an influx of Andretti drivers getting seat time in a Supercar, with Michael Andretti saying that it’s “very very likely’ that US-based drivers will be considered for the endurance rounds down under.

That means the likes of Marco Andretti, Ryan Hunter-Reay, and Alex Rossi could all be in the frame for a Bathurst ride in the future.

“I think there’s a very, very good chance that a couple of our drivers will be coming down here and trying it out for the long distance races,” confirmed Andretti.

“It’s perfect. Our series is done at that time of the year.

“I’m sure I’m going to have them knocking on our door wanting to do this.”

Andretti’s IndyCar line-up also included Takuma Sato, although he’s not part of the confirmed line-up for next season and beyond.

The squad also has Formula E drivers at its disposal, which could open the door for Antonio Felix da Costa or Tom Blomqvist – expected to join the team – to get miles in a Supercar.

Marco Andretti already has genuine Supercars experience, having raced a Kelly Racing Commodore alongside Todd Kelly on the Gold Coast under the international format back in 2012.

Penske buy-in influenced Andretti deal

Michael Andretti also admitted that Roger Penske’s involvement in Supercars influenced his decision to get involved in the Australian series.

The Andretti/Walkinshaw deal came about thanks to an introduction from United Autosports boss Zak Brown – who later decided to become a minority partner himself.

But while that was the catalyst to the deal, Andretti says he was already looking for a way to get involved in Supercars, having seen how successfully Penske has entrenched itself in the sport.

“Honestly when Roger got involved we started looking at it, out of the corner of my eye,” said Andretti.

“I’m always looking to go up against Roger anywhere we can go. It’s a great rivalry that we have, so that definitely helped my decision.

“I have a feeling that if things go the way we hope, I can see Chip [Ganassi] looking at it.”

Andretti added that he’d even had discussions with other Supercars teams before the Walkinshaw deal came along.

“I put some feelers out there, if there was any opportunities I’d want to do it. There was a couple of little opportunities, but they weren’t the right deals.

“But then this one came through Zak Brown to us and it was perfect. It was exactly what we were wanting to do.

“I’m really excited about it, I think it’s going to be a fun programme. I think it’s great for our company, we’re always looking to expand and this is a great platform for our brand. It just made a lot of sense.

“Ryan [Walkinshaw] literally came to our office and we had the basics of the deal done within half an hour. It just made a lot of sense for us and for them.

“It’s one of those marriages I think is really going to work.

“For me it’s expanding our portfolio and I think it’ll be really important for our brand and good for it.

“Hopefully we’ll win because that’s what we’re coming down here to do.”

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