Adam Carroll, who attracted the attention of the powerful Andretti family by trouncing their newest star Marco during his A1GP championship season, has been signed to drive for their IndyCar squad.
The deal is for an unspecified number of races during the second half of this season, and looks likely to be the start of a relationship that will see the Portadown racer find a home for the foreseeable future.
Team boss Michael Andretti said: “We’re very excited that Adam is on board. He is a special talent and someone who we believe will have a bright future with us at Andretti Autosport.
“It was important for us to give him an opportunity this year and start building for the years to come. I’m looking forward to seeing what he can do later this year.”
The 27-year-old, who has taken 41 wins and 83 podiums in a career that has included GP2 and a stint as a tester at BAR Honda, said: “I’m very excited to be joining the driver line-up at Andretti Autosport.
“It is gratifying to know that the success I’ve enjoyed so far in my career has drawn the attention of a team owner like Michael Andretti. The IZOD IndyCar Series is clearly one of the most competitive formulas in the world right now and I’m looking forward to being introduced into the field later this year.”
Carroll won what is likely to be the last-ever A1GP title with A1 Team Ireland, giving a ring-side seat to Andretti who had taken over the United States franchise as a vehicle to increase his son Marco’s road-racing experience.
Marco found it a rough ride, earning a podium but otherwise struggling to crack the top half of the field. Carroll, by contrast, stormed his way through the season until the final weekend at Brands Hatch where he wrapped up the title with a pair of pole positions and a pair of victories.
His performance brought him into contention for a seat in the newly-expanded Formula One, but it also marked him out as a possible IndyCar recruit after he visited the Andretti team at the street race in Long Beach last year.
He said at the time: “We’ve had some fantastic chats, we sat down with Michael Andretti. We’re competing against Marco, we’re winning, we’re up there in every single race and they are struggling to get in the top 10, so they rate me very highly – there is definite interest in America. I know I can do it. I just need to go and take the opportunity.”
And now that opportunity has arrived.
Andretti Autosport currently runs Marco Andretti, Danica Patrick and the veteran Tony Kanaan full-time in the IndyCar Series, with Ryan Hunter-Reay signed to a partial schedule that is widely expected to become full-time given his success so far this season.
Michael Andretti’s nephew John will race in Kentucky this weekend and in the Indianapolis 500, while the team also runs a squad in the Indy Lights support series with Briton Martin Plowman and another ex-A1GP rival of Carroll’s, Charlie Kimball.