Well, this came out of left field. …at least for me. After a very successful three-year partnership, Andretti Autosport and AFS Racing have decided to end their relationship and pursue their individual paths in Firestone Indy Lights and the IZOD IndyCar Series. The partnership yielded 11 race wins and back-to-back championships in 2009 and 2010 with Raphael “Rafa” Matos and JR Hildebrand. Here are some quotes from the two team principals, Gary Peterson of AFS Racing and Michael Andretti of Andretti Autosport.
no images were found“AFS Racing’s partnership with Andretti Autosport has certainly been a successful one, but it’s time for both organizations to try some new things. I’ve enjoyed working with Michael [Andretti] and developing more good young talent within open-wheel racing. I expect AFS Racing to continue to have a strong Firestone Indy Lights program and we’ll continue to work toward our bigger goal of fielding cars at the IndyCar level on a regular basis.” — Gary Peterson, AFS Racing
no images were found“Gary [Peterson] has been a great partner for us over the last three seasons and we’ve accomplished a lot together. Not only were we able to win two Firestone Indy Lights championships, but we were also to do some good things together at the IndyCar level. That was a big help to us within our program and that experience should really help Gary as he looks to take his racing program even further in the future.” — Michael Andretti, Andretti Autosport
When I first heard about this, my initial reaction was disappointment. The two entities had produced such a great program together and had given opportunities to a lot of great drivers both in Firestone Indy Lights and in the IZOD IndyCar Series. My disappointment was abated a bit when I heard that both teams would be fielding multiple entries in Firestone Indy Lights and that AFS was still pursuing opportunities to participate in the IZOD IndyCar Series. Neither team has announced their 2011 driver line-up yet, but as it is with most ladder series, I don’t expect solid announcements to start coming until February or very early March.
I’d like to express my appreciation for both AFS Racing and Andretti Autosport as they have brought some fantastic talent and racing action to the Firestone Indy Lights series. We wish both teams the best of luck in 2011.