2023 INDYCAR Preview: Andretti Autosport

By: Spencer Neff
February 16, 2023

Following another offseason full of changes, Andretti Autosport enters the 2023 NTT INDYCAR SERIES season ready to fulfill on the promise its quartet has shown. After sending multiple drivers to Victory Lane for the first time since 2018, Michael Andretti’s organization kicks off the new season with one of the season’s biggest moves.

Following Alexander Rossi’s departure to Arrow McLaren, Kyle Kirkwood returns to the team where he earned the 2021 Indy Lights Championship. Romain Grosjean and Devlin DeFrancesco each return for their second year with the outfit respectively.

Colton Herta, who enters his fifth season less than a month shy of his 23rd birthday, will be the longest-tenured driver on the team. This despite being the youngest of the four. Marco Andretti will return in a one-off for the 107th Indianapolis 500 presented By Gainbridge, his 18th consecutive “500” appearance.

On May 14th of 2022, Herta turned in a thrilling performance to win a rain-soaked GMR Grand Prix at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway Road Course.

Herta and team after winning the GMR Grand Prix (Joe Skibinski/INDYCAR)

The second-generation racer, along with his race strategist and father Bryan boldly opted for slick tires on a drying track just past the two-lap minimum. From there, Herta led 50 of 75 laps en route to his lone win of 2022.

Rossi followed up with another win at the venue in July after electrical problems sidelined Herta.

Colton Herta

Although he’s been the most successful driver on the team since his 2019 rookie campaign (then with Andretti Harding Steinbrenner), Colton Herta now finds himself the leader of the group. This in terms of success and overall experience.

To go along with his win at IMS, Herta notched poles at Long Beach and Toronto, further proving his prowess on temporary street circuits.

Herta and the No. 26 Andretti Autosport with Curb-Agajanian crew after winning pole for the Honda Indy Toronto. (Chris Owens/INDYCAR)

Despite showing the speed to go up against nearly anyone in the paddock, Herta’s results often did not reflect his pace. Mechanical gremlins at the July IMS Road Course event and a crash at Long Beach in April took him out of contention for both races.

Herta’s, as well as the Andretti Autosport team’s success, may be tied at the hip. As both driver and organization look toward a potential spot on the Formula 1 grid, a strong 2023 could spark a renewed interest in Herta overseas.

Romain Grosjean

In 2021, Grosjean announced his move to the NTT INDYCAR SERIES following a decade in Formula. For 2022, he moved to the No. 28 team with Andretti Autosport, his first full-time season.

Grosjean earned two Top Fives in his first three races, including a second at Long Beach (matching his previous best finish). After qualifying ninth for his debut at the Indianapolis 500, Grosjean earned a fourth-place at Road America in June.

Grosjean prior to his runner-up finish at the Acura Grand Prix of Long Beach (Chris Owens/INDYCAR)

The Swiss-born Frenchman has been in contention for race victories on multiple occasions in his brief time racing stateside. Making it to the top step with a maiden race victory is next on the list of accomplishments as he enters his third season.

Devlin DeFrancesco

Making the switch from Indy Lights for 2022, the native of Toronto would begin to find his footing during the second half of the season.

On the street course of his hometown, the driver of the No. 29 advanced past Round 1 of qualifying. Next month, he qualified 10th at Gateway (started 9th-Alex Palou penalty) and finished a career-best 12th in the 260-lap event on the 1.25-mile oval.

DeFrancesco prior to making his debut at his home race on July 16 (Chris Jones/INDYCAR)

With a full year of experience, DeFrancesco will look to continue the improvements and look for results throughout 2023.

Kyle Kirkwood

Starting his career with A.J. Foyt Racing, Kirkwood impressed early on. Making the Fast 12 in his first two street course qualifying sessions and leading five laps in his oval debut at Texas proved he belonged.

After winning championships in all three Road to Indy series and scoring a victory in 62% of those events, Kirkwood added a best start of ninth at Mid-Ohio in July to his freshman campaign.

Kirkwood during Monday’s test at Sebring International Raceway (Chris Owens/INDYCAR)

Unfortunately, he would not match his best effort of 10th during the Acura Grand Prix of Long Beach. In preseason testing, Kirkwood was among the fastest overall and led the way. Looking to follow Alex Palou and Scott McLaughlin from 2021 and 2022, Kirkwood has the potential for a breakout season in 2023.

Marco Andretti

Andretti started 23rd and finished 22nd at the Indianapolis 500 presented By Gainbridge (John Cote/INDYCAR)

Upon stepping away from the No. 98 entry on a full-time basis prior to 2021, third-generation Marco Andretti would opt to run just the Indianapolis 500. Andretti led three laps at the 2022 event, his first in the race since 2014 and the first since 2019 at Gateway.

Marco’s first laps will be at the April 20-21 IMS Open Test. There, it will be seen if his and his team’s recent fortunes in the race have begun to make a turn for the better.

Header Image By Chris Owens/INDYCAR


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s