Andretti signs Hunter-Reay
|By Matt Beer
||Monday, January 4th 2010, 20:45 GMT
Andretti Autosport has signed Ryan Hunter-Reay for its fourth car - but is still searching for funds to run the American for the full 2010 season.
Hunter-Reay's move to Michael Andretti's team has been on the cards since clothing company IZOD, which has close ties with Hunter-Reay, became the IndyCar Series' title sponsor.
But so far Andretti Autosport has only been able to confirm the 29-year-old for the Indianapolis 500 and a yet to be determined number of events before and after the series' showpiece round - although the team boss is optimistic that the deal can be extended.
"We felt it was important to announce what we know and what we've secured, which is a great partnership under the IZOD brand name and a programme that we feel will give Ryan an excellent shot of winning at Indianapolis," said Andretti.
"How far we take him into 2010 is still in the works, but we feel good about the potential that we will add Ryan to our driver line-up for the full season."
Hunter-Reay replaces Hideki Mutoh in the reconstituted Andretti team, joining Danica Patrick, Tony Kanaan and Marco Andretti in a four car squad. Mutoh has been linked to a move to Newman/Haas/Lanigan in a potential third entry.
Last winter saw Hunter-Reay struggling to find a drive after Rahal Letterman withdrew due to a lack of sponsorship. He signed for Vision Racing on the eve of the season opener and went on to finish second in St Petersburg, but later had to move to AJ Foyt's team to deputise for the injured Vitor Meira when Vision also ran short of funds. Hunter-Reay had previously been a race-winner in both Champ Car and IndyCar.
"Joining a team of Andretti Autosport's calibre has been my goal for the entire 16 years of my racing career and being able to strengthen my ties to everyone at IZOD through this effort is tremendous," said Hunter-Reay.
"This is the opportunity of a lifetime and I am ready to give 120 per cent to the programme."