With a 50-percent change among its NTT IndyCar Series drivers, Andretti Autosport has made an equal number of modifications to its race engineering staff.
Colton Herta and engineer Nathan O’Rourke will remain together with the No. 26 Honda, and in the No. 27 entry, Alexander Rossi and Jeremy Milless continue their successful partnership.
It’s with Andretti’s third and fourth cars where the changes lie, with the arrival of Romain Grosjean in the No. 28 Honda formerly driven by Ryan Hunter-Reay, and Devlin DeFrancesco, who steps into the No. 29 entry piloted last year by James Hinchcliffe. Race engineer Olivier Boisson came with Grosjean as a package from Dale Coyne Racing, and for DeFrancesco, the highly respected Andy Listes will guide the rookie’s first IndyCar campaign.
The biggest change comes in the exit of longtime Andretti race engineer and former technical director Ray Gosselin, who teamed with Hunter-Reay to win the 2012 IndyCar championship, 2014 Indy 500, and numerous victories. Along with Hunter-Reay’s departure, Gosselin has moved on from the team and joined Ilmor Engineering, which manufactures and supports Chevy’s IndyCar engines, as its VP of Motorsports.
“Obviously, it would be silly not to keep Nathan with Colton,” Andretti COO Rob Edwards told RACER. “Olivier will remain with Romain, and Jeremy with Alex.
“And Andy was originally going to work with Olivier on Romain’s car, so that we had someone already from within the Andretti family to bring support on that car. But when Ray left for new pastures, the opportunity to work Devlin into the program came up, and Andy has agreed to do that for us as his race engineer, which we’re excited about.”
Looking to the rest of the extended Andretti engineering family, Meyer Shank Racing’s ongoing relationship with the team through its Andretti Technologies firm brings one more round of changes to bear. Garrett Mothersead, who won the 2017 Indy 500 with Takuma Sato and looked after Hinchcliffe last year, has been assigned to MSR’s No. 60 Honda with 2016 IndyCar champion and 2019 Indy 500 winner Simon Pagenaud.
The one piece of continuity comes with Helio Castroneves in the No. 06 MSR Honda who won his fourth Indy 500 with Andretti’s Mark Bridges at the engineering helm.
“Garrett is going to work with Simon, and you probably would not be surprised to learn after Indy last year, Mark is going to continue with Helio,” Edwards said. “We were so thrilled for so many reasons how that worked out. Mark is just great, and we’re going to keep that relationship going there.”
On the senior engineering, managerial, and crew chief fronts, Edwards says year-to-year stability is what the Andretti team has achieved.
“The rest of that is pretty consistent,” he said. “Eric Bretzman is our technical director. Josh Freund and Ziggy Harcus are still managing the team. And all four crew chiefs are the same as they were last year as well.”