Hours after confirming it was losing Tony Kanaan for next season, Andretti Autosport confirmed it will field Ryan Hunter-Reay for the next two IZOD IndyCar Series seasons, even though replacement sponsors for departing primary sponsor IZOD have not yet been announced.
"We're thrilled to be able to sign Ryan to a multi-year contract," said team owner Michael Andretti. "He is a driver that has earned the right to have that kind of stability and we feel very fortunate to know that he will be a major piece of our foundation going forward."
"I couldn't be happier knowing my future is with Andretti Autosport," said Hunter-Reay. "In what looked to be just a partial 2010 season, this team worked incredibly hard to make the full season a reality and the results speak loudly of our potential together. I cannot say enough about the professionalism of this team across the board, both competitively and from a commercial perspective. As we prepare for 2011, I have strong relationships within the team to build on.
Hunter-Reay enjoyed a breakthrough season in 2010 that was highlighted by a popular win at Long Beach and a seventh-place finish in the series standings. Hunter-Reay's season also included a runner-up finish in the season-opening Sao Paulo Indy 300, three podiums, six top-fives and 12 top-10 finishes in 17 starts.
"Ryan proved this year that he was the perfect choice to join our team," Andretti said. "Not only did he substantially contribute to our engineering and setup capabilities he is also a threat to win at every circuit we race on. We recognized early on that Ryan is that 'total package' both on and off the track and that is why we all worked so hard to keep Ryan for the full season this year. It's gratifying to know that all that hard work has paid off in a big way today. It will be fun preparing for the 2011 season knowing that we have a solid program with Ryan. We need to work to get stronger as a race team and put ourselves in a position to compete for our fourth series championship. Ryan will be a major part of that effort."
Hunter-Reay is confident that he will be able to improve on his 2010 performance.
"Our goals are reasonable and achievable," he said. "Michael has taken the reins of this team, knows what he wants to accomplish and how to get there. Anything less than wins and challenging for the championship next year would be unacceptable. With that said, we all recognize there is a lot of work to be done to bring the team back to that level. Starting the job in October, rather than in March, will be a luxury I've never had before. I look to add to my four Indy car wins and become a title contender throughout the season."