Barracuda Racing expects to have its plans for next season in place by the time January arrives, according to team co-owner Bryan Herta, which would add another program to the growing list of confirmed entries for the 2014 IndyCar Series championship.
?We’re working to put the final touches on our sponsorship deals for next year,? Herta told RACER. ?I suspect what you’ll see will be very familiar to you. All of our sponsorships programs ” not necessarily by design, but by circumstance ” are year-to-year, so we go through a renewal process in the off-season and we’re in the middle of it right now.
?It’s coming along quite well and our goal is to have everything done before the Christmas break, to make announcements soon after and then to be out testing early next year. We’re in the best shape in November that we’ve been in any year.?
The Barracuda Networks-sponsored No. 98 Honda saw three different drivers occupy the cockpit in 2013, with Italian GP2 veteran Luca Filippi (with Herta, BELOW) and American IndyCar veteran JR Hildebrand impressing the team during their respective outings after Alex Tagliani stepped away from the car prior to Mid-Ohio.
There’s no guarantee Filippi or Hildebrand will get the nod to drive the No. 98, but they appear to be the favorites at this point.
?On the drivers, it’s a chicken-and-egg thing, and we’re waiting for the chicken to hatch,? Herta continued. ?It’s just down to me to get our sponsorship done. Historically, we get our sponsorship completed, then we go sign our driver. There are a great number of drivers that are available. I think Luca and JR both did great jobs for us in different ways this year, so I’d say they have to be at the top of our list, but they are not the only names.?
Herta previously told RACER the Barracuda team was intent on expanding to two cars in 2014, but it now looks like the Indianapolis-based outfit will field a single entry for its chosen driver.
?Our goal had been to find the sponsorship to run two cars and as I told you previously, we’d have loved to run both (Filippi and Hildebrand), but that’s looking less likely,? he confirmed. ?We just haven’t hit the marks we need to hit to see that kind of expansion. We haven’t closed the door to it, but a one-car program with the No. 98 is what you’re most likely to see. And I don’t anticipate any major personnel changes, either. We have a great group and will build on what we have with the No. 98 car.?
News of engine partnerships has been rather sparse during the off-season, and it looks like no changes on the horizon for Herta and company.
?In terms of engines, we have a contract from Honda and I expect to sign that,? he said. ?I don’t have any reason to want to change. They’ve done a very good job by our account.?