Andretti Global arguably has one of the strongest driver lineups in IndyCar for the 2024 season in Kirkwood, Herta, and Ericsson. Let’s explore why.
Andretti’s 2024 IndyCar lineup has been downsized to three cars. They have let go of Devlin DeFrancesco and replaced the Canadian with 2022 Indy 500 winner Marcus Ericsson.
Marcus Ericsson: Chip to Michael
After a strong three-year stint at Chip Ganassi Racing, Marcus Ericsson has signed with Andretti for 2024. This is a big signing for Andretti Global.
During his time with Ganassi, Ericcson won 4 races including the Indianapolis 500, which neither Herta nor Kirkwood have done yet. The former F1 driver knows how to win IndyCar races and can surely bring that experience to Andretti.
I’m very happy and proud to announce that I’m joining @FollowAndretti for 2024 and onwards! Thankful for the opportunity 🙏🏻. Exciting new chapter in my career coming up! Bring it on 🔥💯 #INDYCARhttps://t.co/tNmjRRVjTh pic.twitter.com/jgBqsMgTV4
— Marcus Ericsson (@Ericsson_Marcus) August 23, 2023
There is also an element of maturity to Ericcson that should greatly help the team. The patience and level-headedness he has shown in the past will be a good asset to Andretti’s 2024 campaign. It is something that his two younger teammates can learn from.
Overall, Ericsson’s experience and talent should surely help in Andretti’s bid to win more races consistently.
Kyle Kirkwood: Andretti’s new golden boy?
Kyle Kirkwood is one of the most promising young talents in the NTT IndyCar series. The 25-year-old Floridian had a decorated junior career. He won the USF 2000, USF Pro 2000, and Indy NXT championship. He made his IndyCar debut with AJ Foyt racing in 2022.
When Alexander Rossi signed with Arrow McLaren, Kirkwood took his place at Andretti for 2023. His first season in the #27 Autonation Honda was ultimately successful. Kirkwood won the Acura Grand Prix of Long Beach from pole position. Later in the season, he also won on the streets of Nashville.
Having secured Andretti’s only wins of the 2023 season, Kirkwood has cemented his place in the team. If he consistently shows the form from Long Beach/Nashville, it will be another great help to Andretti’s 2024 season.
Colton Herta: Will the drought end?
Colton Herta hasn’t had the best time in the last couple of seasons. The Andretti man hasn’t won since his thrilling victory in the rain at the 2022 GMR Grand Prix.
His 2023 season had its highs and lows. The Californian qualified on pole at Road America and Mid-Ohio. Additionally, he got a couple of top-fives and a podium finish in Toronto.
However, whether it was bad strategy from Andretti at Road America or getting a pitlane speeding penalty in Mid-Ohio, he did not take victory lane during 2023. The thing is, like any athlete, drought periods can and will exist. Herta is a proven race winner, he has done so seven times.
If he and the #26 crew can put a full weekend together along with some good luck, his winless drought should end. Seeing as Herta is still in his lengthy contract till 2027, he still has chances.
Andretti: An issue needing addressing
Looking back at the last few years, Andretti has a key issue they need to resolve. For the most part, they typically show good pace in practice and qualify well on street circuits/road courses. In other words, they usually have the speed.
The thing is, when it comes to Sunday, they have failed to consistently capitalize on their weekend momentum like Ganassi and Penske. Whether it is strategy errors or driver errors, it’s a problem that’s stopped them from truly challenging the big two.
Andretti Global has the drivers and the resources but the question for 2024 still remains. Can they win consistently?