Andretti Autosport will become Chevrolet's second confirmed team for 2012. Chevrolet's “anchor” squad, Team Penske, was announced back in November 2010.
This marks a return for the two names since Andretti team principal Michael Andretti and father Mario both raced and won with the manufacturer from 1987 to 1991. Michael Andretti won the 1991 championship with eight victories, the most Chevrolet has had in a season.
“I am so excited to work with Chevy once again,” Andretti said. “We won 15 races and a championship with Chevy in just three years. The 1991 season was magical. Now, Andretti Autosport and our sponsors have the opportunity to win again with Chevrolet. This will prove to be a tremendous association. Chevrolet is committed to motorsports and they are proven winners.”
The last time there was engine competition in IndyCar, Andretti's team was the de facto factory effort for Honda from their entry into IndyCar in 2003 until Chevrolet and Toyota left at the end of 2005.
Chevrolet remains on schedule to begin testing its new 2.2-liter V6 engine (artist's impression of which is shown above) in October, before teams receive their new cars and have the opportunity to test themselves.
If both Penske and Andretti maintain their current fleet of seven full-time cars (three and four apiece, respectively), then Chevrolet would likely only have three spots to fill in its rumored allotment of 10 cars, or 40 percent quotient they have to hit. However, there is a chance both teams could downsize their current crop of cars. Penske boss Tim Cindric admitted earlier this month that his team in particular was likely to downsize to two cars unless additional sponsorship could be secured.
According to Honda Performance Development president Erik Berkman, the reason the Andretti/Chevrolet announcement was delayed was largely due to a long process of paperwork owing to GM's new corporate structure.
“Right now, Chevy has got teams,” Berkman said prior to the Andretti announcement. “From what I'm told – and I met with (IndyCar CEO) Randy Bernard earlier – because of GM's constitution, government ownership and all that, they have some very arduous, specific contractual deal-making processes and audit committees before things can be announced. Until it goes through that rigorous process within GM, it's not official. They may have some signatures on some documents, but Randy's not going to tell the names. If the rumors are true, my suspicion is they are up to their 10 (cars).”