Bryan Herta will run his own team in the 2009 Firestone Indy Lights series, confirming speculation that he was to move into ownership after a successful career behind the wheel.

Bryan Herta Autosport was born in the space of six weeks, after respected engineer Steve Newey - who formerly oversaw Herta's car in the ALMS - approached the former Champ Car racewinner with the suggestion of forming a team to run in the burgeoning Firestone Indy Lights series.

"Bryan and I talked about it and we thought that based on some of the contacts we had we could put a programme together - and it just managed to snowball," Newey revealed to the official IndyCar Series website.

"The Firestone Indy Lights series is definitely the place to be if you're looking at an IndyCar career as a driver. From that standpoint, it's the place to be to develop new talent."

The team will hit the track for the first time at the Homestead-Miami open test next month, with Herta confirming that occasional Lights series runner Daniel Herrington would be BHA's first signing.

"It's taken on a life of its own," Herta admitted of the team's rapid gestation, "In about six weeks' time, we've gone from talking about starting an Indy Lights team to having signed a driver and getting ready to go testing.

"I'm very excited about the opportunity to take on a new challenge in open-wheel racing as a team owner, and am confident that we have assembled a formidable programme."

Herrington has made 13 Lights starts with three teams over the past two seasons, having previously competed in Formula Mazda, FBMW USA Series and won the 2004 Skip Barber Regional championship title.

"I'm really excited about this opportunity," he admitted, "The past couple years, I've been working towards a full season of racing in Indy Lights, but I either didn't have full sponsorship support or I didn't have the right opportunity come my way.

"This time, I was lucky enough to have everything come together at the right time and now I have the perfect opportunity to learn and grow as a driver.

"It's fantastic to be able to work with someone with as much racing knowledge and experience as Bryan. He's a genuinely nice guy who has a lot to offer young American drivers like myself, and I intend on being a sponge and soaking it all up."

"We're really excited about Daniel," Herta reciprocated, "He's never had the whole opportunity. He's never been able to do a winter test programme and do a full season with a team. The last couple of years, he's had to piecemeal races where he could.

"When I talked with him, I became impressed that he's doing this on desire and he's worked very hard to do it. I think he's showed a lot potential in the races he has done, and I feel, with a full season programme and a team that's strongly behind him, he can surprise a lot of people and be a very strong competitor in the series."

Herta also revealed a technical association with IndyCar Series regular Vision Racing, amid plans to field a second car.

"What really precipitated this was last year when I started doing some road course consulting work for Vision Racing," Herta explained, "I wasn't really sure how I'd really feel about that role. I surprised myself, I guess, in that I enjoyed being involved in a team in a competitive fashion outside the car.

Newey will oversee day-to-day operations, while Herta will deal with matters both on and off the racetrack.

"I have a strong interest in making sure the team can be successful," Herta said, "I'm lucky to have a partner in Steve Newey, who has vast engineering experience and has been involved in start-up race programmes twice before.

"I see myself more working with the drivers and sponsors and just being a liaison for the team.

"I think the level of competition is extremely high and we're certainly not underestimating that going in. That's one of the main reasons why a link with Vision Racing was so critical in my opinion to our being able to launch this properly.

"I just don't think, being a stand-alone Indy Lights programme, we'd have the ability or resources to compete with those IndyCar Series [associated] teams. With our association, we come in with the same type of facility and resources and ability to offer the same type of programme to our drivers."



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