Andretti Autosport and AFS Racing announced Tuesday they have ended their partnership. Andretti Autosport plans to field multiple entries in Firestone Indy Lights again in 2011, while AFS Racing will continue in Firestone Indy Lights and will explore additional opportunities in the IndyCar Series.
Since joining forces in 2008, AFS Racing/Andretti Autosport captured two Firestone Indy Lights championship titles and 11 race wins. In 2009 and 2010, AFS Racing expanded its role and fielded an entry within the IZOD IndyCar Series in a joint venture with Andretti Autosport, first for driver Franck Montagny and then for Adam Carroll.
In 2011, Andretti Autosport will be the first team to compete with entries in each step of IndyCar's “Road to Indy” ladder development program, including the Star Mazda Championship and the USF2000 National Championship.
Andretti Autosport made its entry into Firestone Indy Lights in 2005 with then-18 year-old Marco Andretti, who claimed three wins from pole as part of a limited schedule during the team's debut season. The team made the jump to full-time competition in the series in 2006 and 2007 before combining efforts with AFS Racing in 2008.
AFS Racing is owned by California native Gary Peterson who fielded his first Firestone Indy Lights entry as owner/driver of AFS Racing, Inc., in 2002. AFS Racing earned its two Firestone Indy Lights race victories in 2006 with driver Alex Lloyd and another in 2007 with Wade Cunningham. During his nine seasons as owner of AFS Racing, Peterson has helped develop racing careers for many drivers including Arie Luyendyk Jr., Raphael Matos, J.R. Hildebrand, Sebastian Saavedra, Thiago Medeiros, Tyce Carlson and Phil Giebler.
“AFS Racing's partnership with Andretti Autosport has certainly been a successful one, but it's time for both organizations to try some new things,” said Peterson. “I've enjoyed working with Michael [Andretti] and developing more good young talent within open-wheel racing. I expect AFS Racing to continue to have a strong Firestone Indy Lights program and we'll continue to work toward our bigger goal of fielding cars at the IndyCar level on a regular basis.”
“Gary [Peterson] has been a great partner for us over the last three seasons and we've accomplished a lot together,” said Michael Andretti. “Not only were we able to win two Firestone Indy Lights championships, but we were also to do some good things together at the IndyCar level. That was a big help to us within our program and that experience should really help Gary as he looks to take his racing program even further in the future.”