Engineering shuffle for Andretti IndyCar team

Phillip Abbott/Motorsport Images

Engineering shuffle for Andretti IndyCar team

IndyCar

Engineering shuffle for Andretti IndyCar team

By

Andretti Autosport will see half of its four full-time NTT IndyCar Series entries head into 2023 with new driver and race engineering combinations.

Of those whose entries that will remain unchanged, Colton Herta and Nathan O’Rourke will continue to lead the No. 26 Honda effort, and with the No. 28 Honda, Romain Grosjean and Olivier Boisson are locked in for the upcoming season.

It’s with Andretti’s returning Indy Lights champion Kyle Kirkwood, who spent his rookie IndyCar season with A.J. Foyt Racing and will slot into Alexander Rossi’s former No. 27 Honda, and Devlin DeFrancesco’s No. 29 Andretti Steinbrenner Racing Honda where new or modified engineering pairings will take place.

“You won’t be surprised to know that we’re keeping Nathan with Colton,” Andretti COO Rob Edwards told RACER with a laugh. “So, Jeremy Milless will work with Kyle, Olivier is going to work with Romain again, and on the 29 car, Andy Listes and Ron Barhorst will be swapping roles.”

In Milless, Kirkwood receives the race engineer who helped Rossi earn the majority of his eight IndyCar wins and produced numerous victories with Josef Newgarden at Ed Carpenter Racing. For DeFrancesco, Andretti is elevating Barhorst, one of its veteran IndyCar support engineers who spent 2022 as a race engineer within its Indy Lights program.

“He’s gonna step up with Devlin as race engineer and then Andy is going the other way as one of the Indy Lights engineers next year,” Edwards noted. “Andy was just wanting to step away from IndyCar for a little while. The fortunate thing about having a number of different programs in the building is that you can move some pieces around — and Andy and Ron are good friends, and they were happy for each other to have their respective opportunities.

“In terms of the transition on Devlin’s car, Andy will remain as a resource, at least in the short term, while Ron and Devlin are getting used to working together.”

Although IndyCar severely restricts the amount of test days for its teams to use during the offseason, Edwards says Andretti’s new IndyCar combos have been busy using all of the modern offtrack tools to get a head start on developing an engineering rapport.

“For a couple of dinosaurs like you and I, we used to only do all that at the racetrack,” he said with another laugh. “Now it’s all done with iRacing, sim, in the DIL (driver-in-the-loop testing) or whatever else. It all still happens, but it just happens in a different world and a different way, right? So iRacing and some of those tools are a great way of forming those relationships and understanding how to talk to each other.

“Jeremy and Kyle started literally the week after Laguna Seca with some simulator work together, and similar with Ron and Devlin; they’ve done a couple of days on the sim but they’ve been in constant conversation using virtual tools. This new generation is accustomed now to working together in the virtual world rather than only the real world.”

MX-5 Cup | Round 1 – Daytona | Race Highlights

More RACER