Alex Tagliani will remain at the wheel of the #98 Bryan Herta Autosport Honda-powered car for the 2013 IZOD IndyCar Series championship, the team announced on Thursday.
"The combination of Alex and all the BHA crew and engineering group really worked well last year," said team co-owner and former driver Bryan Herta. "We all agreed that having Alex return would give us our best chance to win races and compete on every type of track the IndyCar schedule throws at us."
In addition to retaining Tagliani, Herta has also managed to keep its entire crew together for a second season, along with a continuation of the naming rights sponsorship deal with IT specialist services provider Barracuda Networks.
Tagliani did succeed in securing pole position in the 2012 Texas race, and led the field in five different races in the 15-event season, even though they weren't able to score any breakthrough successes in the final race results or championship standings for all their efforts.
"The 2012 season was strong for us, despite the challenges we faced, and the results don't reflect all our successes," said Tagliani. "In our second season together at Barracuda Racing, we can only climb upward as a team."
One of the problems was that the team started out with engines from Lotus, and had to get out of that contract before the 2012 Indianapolis 500 in order to sign up with Honda, which duly transformed Tagliani's season. The 40-year-old Canadian went on to make it into the Firestone Fast Six qualifying final round in all but two races after the engine supplier swap.
"It was our first full season in IndyCar and it really didn't start in earnest until we re-joined the Honda family in time for the Indy 500," agreed the team's lead engineer Todd Malloy. "From that point forward, everyone could see Alex's true talents."
Now - with the team set-up staying together into a second season - everyone at BHA is optimistic that 2013 will prove much more successful all round. "It will be great to show that we are a factor, that we are moving up in the field," said Tagliani.
"The expectations are higher this year for Alex, our partners, and ourselves," agreed Herta. " It is great to see all the pieces coming together, everyone on the Barracuda Racing program are excited about this season."