Daytona Beach, Florida (AP) — Jarett Andretti paved the way for motorsport with his father. There, they started with a sprint car, eager to build a larger program that could take them to the next level.
John Andretti and his son eventually turned to sports cars and built a program to race someday on the Rolex 24 in Daytona. They took that effort seriously in 2019, but it took three years to realize their dreams.
Jarett Andretti started in the LMP3 class from Paul on Saturday, maintained the lead for about three hours and then handed over the car to his teammates. This commemorates Andretti Autosport’s debut in the most prestigious races in North America. Mario Andretti won the race in 1972, Michael Andretti and John Andretti participated three times, and Marco Andretti ran once, but he did not participate in the family team that bears the name.
But for Jarett Andretti, the results were bittersweet. The checkered flag falls on Sunday, the second anniversary of her father’s death. John Andretti died of colon cancer in 2020 at the age of 56.
“It was something my dad and I started last year. He was like’let’s go to a sports car race’. He has a lot of his dad’s fingerprints,” Andretti told The Associated Press.
He admitted that Andretti Autosport owner and late father’s first cousin, Michael Andretti, helped Jarrett move the program to IMSA’s top series. The team started last year with the Michelin Pilot Challenge and moved to the Weathertech series in the middle of the season.
And Michael Andretti and Jarrett’s mother, Nancy, told him that he would continue his sprint car career to focus on IMSA’s efforts.
“OK, I’m going to Weathertech and I’m going to run these races,” he said. Michael said, “I couldn’t go somewhere last weekend and get hurt in a sprint car and I’m ready for the race. If I’m going to help you, I’m here and focused. I want to make sure, “said Jarett Andretti.
When his debut finally happened, Mario Andretti was in Daytona on Saturday watching as one of the Grand Marshal. Mario Andretti is the twin brother of Jarrett’s late grandfather Aldo.
“It makes a lot of sense for the family. With our twin brother Aldo, we started this mess. There were four drivers on each side of the family, and now they are the third generation on both sides,” Mario said. Andretti told AP. “John just coached Jarrett from a sprint car to a sports car and Michael is part of the team’s structure. We love this. This is our life. This sport is our life. . “
Jarett Andretti said he was confident that Mario could drive a car anytime after the stint and that 81-year-old Mario could succeed in a solid three-hour stint. Mario Andretti still drives an IndyCar two-seater in every race.
“He’s pretty fit and only mentally sharp. When you’re mentally sharp, that physicality doesn’t make much difference,” said Jarett Andretti. “He’s still driving a two-seater hard, so he can always drive for me.”
Ford Performance will return to top-level GT racing in 2024 with a factory-backed Mustang, the sports car that created the pony car segment.
Ford has withdrawn from the IMSA SportsCar Championship after the 2019 season, but has announced that it will return to GTD Pro Class at two multimatic motorsports car factories at the Daytona International Speedway. Ford was considering entering the top class of sports car racing — it will be called LMDh from next season — instead choosing to stay in the production-based category.
A street version of the Mustang GT3 will also be available for purchase.
Joey Hand, who was nominated as a NASCAR road course driver for Rick Ware Racing in a Ford-backed car earlier this week, will help develop the Mustang GT3. The hand was part of Ford’s lineup, which won the Le Mans in 2016.
The race driver was not announced.
“Not only do I like to compete and win on the track, but I also enjoy participating in the development of new racing cars like this Mustang. I’ve done a lot of testing on the Ford GT program, so this car It’s great to be able to work again with the same people at Ford and Multimatic to prepare for the competition. “
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