Two dominant forces on the Road to Indy will reunite as Andretti Autosport and Kyle Kirkwood have come to terms — again — for a run at the Indy Lights championship.
For Kirkwood, the 2018 USF2000 champion and 2019 Indy Pro 2000 title winner, the 2020 season was meant to be spent in an Indy Lights entry fielded by the back-to-back series champions, but with its cancellation, the Florida product filled his time in IMSA before coming to terms on a new agreement with the Andretti team.
“I am so incredibly excited to get this rolling again in Indy Lights with Andretti Autosport,” said Kirkwood, who will drive the No. 28 Dallara IL15-AER four-cylinder turbo. “2020 was an unfortunate year for Indy Lights taking a season hiatus, but it has given us as a team plenty of time to focus towards having a perfect year in 2021. Our line-up is very strong this year and fortunately, we are pretty close friends. Our readiness and preparation is incredible and I cannot wait to kick off the 2021 season in a few short months.”
Although the loss of the 2020 Indy Lights season slowed Kirkwood’s rapid ascension towards the NTT IndyCar Series, the 22-year-old gained invaluable experience in endurance racing.
Competing in the IMSA Prototype Challenge series driving an LMP3 chassis, and in the WeatherTech SportsCar Championship for AIM Vasser Sullivan in a Lexus RC F GT3, Kirkwood logged hours of intense learning in the same way Pato O’Ward used a diversion to IMSA in 2017 as the springboard to capture the 2018 Indy Lights championship.
“Surprisingly, what people don’t really see is if you look at some of the Road to Indy stuff that you saw this year, the events were cut back, there was very little track time, which would have hurt somebody like me in my first year in Lights,” he said.