James Hinchcliffe’s long offseason of free agency has come to a conclusion with the signing of a three-race deal for Andretti Autosport. The Canadian returns to the team where he captured the greatest amount of success in the NTT IndyCar Series, taking three of his six career wins during a stretch from 2012-2014.
With backing from tech company Genesys, Hinchcliffe will spend the month of May in the No. 29 Honda, contesting the Indianapolis Grand Prix and Indianapolis 500, and then complete the Andretti reunion at the Texas Motor Speedway oval in June.
“Honestly, it’s so nice being able to announce some more good news,” Hinchcliffe said. “It’s no secret that the 2020 season isn’t going to be exactly what we were expecting, but being able to start the new year with the announcement that Genesys was stepping in to save our season and partner with us was awesome, and now adding the next big piece in my reunion with Andretti Autosport just really makes it feel like the momentum is going our way. I can’t wait to work with this group again and to get back behind the wheel of an Indy car!”
An series of intertwined events led to team owner Michael Andretti and Hinchcliffe forming the new union.
Andretti came tantalizingly close to placing two-time Formula 1 champion Fernando Alonso in the No. 29 Honda — the same car the Spaniard drove for the team in 2017 — until critical comments made about Honda’s Formula 1 program led the Japanese manufacturer to strike his name from its list of drivers to receive its motors for the Indy 500.
On Hinchcliffe’s side, an agreement to race with Rahal Letterman Lanigan is said to have been signed by both sides, only to have a last-minute change scuttle those plans. In his new agreement with Andretti Autosport, Hinchcliffe has landed with a front-running team while his former employers at Arrow McLaren SP are rumored to have an Indy 500 seat being readied for Alonso after his Andretti opportunity fell through.
Despite the starts, stops, and numerous changes, adding Hinchcliffe to a deep Indy 500 roster alongside 2016 race winner Alexander Rossi, 2014 winner Ryan Hunter-Reay, sophomore star Colton Herta, Marco Andretti, and Zach Veach gives Michael Andretti six ways to succeed during the 104th running of the event.
“We’re really pleased to be able to welcome James back into the Andretti team,” he said. “He has, for sure, been knocked down a few times by this sport and to be able to help him meet the challenge is really special. We had a lot of fun, and some great successes with James when he was part of the team before, and we’re really looking forward to picking up where we left off.
“I’d also like to welcome Genesys to the Andretti family for their first experience in IndyCar racing. We now have three, major Indiana-based companies in our portfolio, along with several other brands that call Indianapolis home. It’s special to see these companies supporting Indiana’s home sport of IndyCar racing, and we’re proud to carry them each with us. We are looking forward to working with James and the Genesys team to deliver both on and off-track success.”
Hinchcliffe is expected to get his first run in the No. 29 Honda at Indianapolis during the April 30 Open Test.