Colton Herta to Indy Lights as Andretti ties up with Yankees owners

Colton Herta will make his Indy Lights debut in 2017 as part of an Andretti Autosport tie-up with the owning family of baseball franchise the New York Yankees

Herta, the 16-year-old son of IndyCar race winner Bryan, finished third in the Formula 3-based Euroformula Open series in 2016 and was a race winner in BRDC British Formula 3, claiming two other podium finishes across just six races.

He will return to the US to compete in Lights, a series his father won in 1993, in a new team that will be headed by Andretti and the Yankees-owning Steinbrenner family.

"I'm very pleased to be coming back to race in the States," Herta said. "IndyCar is my goal, so competing in Indy Lights this year will bring me one step closer.

"I know I have a good team behind me in Andretti Steinbrenner Racing and we should be fighting for wins right away."

Herta last raced in the States in the USF2000 series as a 14-year-old in 2014.

Leading IndyCar outfit Andretti has been a race-winning Lights team for several seasons, while its new programme will involve George Michael Steinbrenner IV, the 20-year-old grandson of the Yankees owner of the same name, who will act as team principal.

The Andretti partnership will be the first open-wheel racing project for the Steinbrenner family, whose name has been synonymous with baseball since Steinbrenner's grandfather purchased the New York Yankees in 1973.

"I have been around Indycar racing for nearly half of my young life as a fan and enthusiast," said Steinbrenner Jr, whose father Hank is part-owner and co-chairman of the Yankees.

"Andretti Autosport always seemed to have a prestige in how they operate and present themselves that mirrors that of the Yankees.

"The legacy of the Andretti name and the success and wide reach of the Andretti brand is as impressive as you will find in the world of motor racing."

Michael Andretti, who will co-own team, said he was impressed by Herta's potential and said Steinbrenner Jr would have a "very hands-on role" with the team.

"Colton set out at a young age to create his own path in racing, and I'm really pleased to see that path bring him here to Andretti Autosport," Andretti said.

"Partnering with a name as iconic as Steinbrenner is really something I'm looking forward to.

"I think together the partnership can continue to grow in motorsport, and it is only fitting that we begin by entering a car into Indy Lights."

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