"No matter how many times you've done it before, it never gets old to announce that you're going to run in the Indianapolis 500," John Andretti said today, announcing that he would be seeking to make his 12th start at the famous Indianpolis 500 in May.
The announcement came during the lunchbreak of IndyCar's official pre-season testing session at Barber Motorsports Park, Alabama, with Andretti Autosports taking advantage of the backdrop provided by the Barber Vintage Motorsports Museum to reveal the news. Andretti, 48, was a CART regular from 1987-1992 and made a five-race appearance in IndyCar in 2008 but has recently been more active in the NASCAR Sprint Cup currently driving the #38/#34 Chevrolet Impala for Front Row Motorsports
"It's great for us to be able to put this program together again for 2011," said John's cousin, and Andretti Autosports team owner, Michael Andretti. "John is running the race for one reason and that's to win it, so we're going to give it everything we've got."
"As a racer, the Indianapolis 500 is something that you love to be involved in," said Richard Petty, whose Richard Petty Motorsports is joining forces with the Andrettis to put John back on the historic track. "Heading back to Indy in May with John, Michael and Window World is the way we want to do it and I'm really looking forward to it."
Andretti will once again be backed by primary sponsor Window World, Inc. for the third year in a row, and he will be driving the #43 with a traditional "Petty Blue" and "Day-Glo Red" color scheme designed to commemorate the 1982 race-winning car of Gordon Johncock. Window World are also setting up a "$1m WIN-WIN" promotion that could see a contestant win a million dollars should Andretti win the 100th anniversary running of the Indy 500.
American Le Mans LMP1 driver Simon Pagenaud is also rumoured to be in with a chance to compete in the Indy 500 as well as the season finale at Las Vegas with its $5m "challenge prize fund" for any non-IndyCar regular driver who can come and claim the win. The 26-year-old Frenchman previously raced in Champ Car in 2007 with Walker Racing, and is hoping his current ALMS team Highcroft will pull together the two-race IndyCar appearance for him with a view to a full IndyCar campaign in 2012.