Andretti calls for a return to IndyCar team franchises

Image by Michael Levitt/LAT

Andretti calls for a return to IndyCar team franchises


Andretti calls for a return to IndyCar team franchises


NTT IndyCar Series team owner Michael Andretti would welcome a shift in business practices to give entrants defined value for the entries they field.

Unlike Major League Baseball, the National Basketball Association, or the National Football League, where admission to the ranks of team ownership is subject to approval by the league or the other owners, prior to purchasing a franchise, IndyCar lacks a formal ownership structure. From A.J. Foyt Racing to Team Penske, every IndyCar team operates as an independent entity.

Provided an interested party can secure an engine lease from Chevy or Honda, a tire lease from Firestone and afford to purchase a spec Dallara DW12 chassis, there’s nothing to stop that team from entering the series — which, from Andretti’s perspective, makes establishing value for a team highly subjective.

The 1991 CART IndyCar Series champion, who owns five Honda-powered programs under the Andretti Autosport banner, desires a return to the franchise system that gave CART owners an established commodity that could be bought, sold, and hopefully, rise in value.

“How do we make our franchises worth something? Because, right now they’re not worth anything,” he said. “Look at what Formula E and Formula 1 have done. I mean, those franchises are worth a lot of money now. There’s real value.”

As the owner of the BMW i Andretti Motorsport Formula E franchise, which has a rumored value of $30 million, Andretti would like to see Roger Penske, IndyCar’s new owner, explore a similar team ownership structure.

“Now, any Joe Blow can buy a car and a truck and show up at the racetrack, and it’s too easy, if that makes sense. There’s got to be a way to [make] the franchises, the 22 or 24 franchises, worth something,” he continued.

“So I think we’re going to probably talk a lot about that, [revenue] shares, and things like that. I think that could be a positive. I think that could be something that’s right at the forefront that we need to do. It’s something that I’ve been pushing [IndyCar CEO] Mark [Miles] on for a long time. We’ve got to figure out a way to get value, and Roger sees that and understands that.”