Marco Andretti has announced he will no longer be a full-time IndyCar driver, but is targeting Indy 500 glory and other iconic races in other series.
Andretti has scored two wins since making his IndyCar debut in 2006, and as recently as last August took pole for the Indianapolis 500.
However, he has notably struggled with the current car on road and street courses admitting his late-braking technique requires a 'solid' rear end - something that disappeared with the arrival of the IR-18 in 2018.
"Upon some careful thought over the past couple of months, I have made the decision to make some changes to my racing activities and focus for 2021," Andretti wrote on social media.
"I recently shared this decision and the changes that I want to make with my Dad [Michael Andretti, Andretti Autosport team owner] and have spoken at length with him about it. I appreciate his openness and for allowing me the flexibility to map out my own course going forward.
"I am fortunate to be in a position at Andretti Autosport to run the full IndyCar season if I want to. But instead, I have decided to change up my direction somewhat - to reset - to do something a little different - look at everything fresh and see where that takes me. And, to me, now seems like the appropriate time to do that.
"I definitely am going to keep driving. I still have a deep passion for it and have unfinished business to take care of and some boxes that I want to check before I consider retiring as a driver.
"First and foremost, I remain very hungry to win the Indy 500. It is our biggest stage and the place that I feel I bring the most to the table as a driver. I've come close there and am in the mix there it seems each year. Winning the pole there last year was awesome but that isn't enough - I know that a victory there is in my future so we'll try to get that done in the coming years.
"As such I have committed to and am looking forward to running the Indy 500 with Andretti Autosport this year, in addition to being squarely focused on the Indy 500, I might also take a look at perhaps running some other races on the IndyCar schedule down the road as the season progresses, in order to remain "car fit". I have also offered to help the team with some testing and other activities along the way."
While Marco will continue his involvement in Andretti Autosport, as co-owner of his #98 entry with Michael Andretti and Bryan Herta, the 33-year-old is assessing a potential move into IMSA SportsCar Championship at select races.
"I also want to do some sportscar racing - maybe even get the chance to do some IMSA racing with my cousin Jarett which would be a lot of fun for me," he added. "I'll be looking into other sportscar opportunities as well in the coming months, and would welcome discussions in that regard. Marque events like the 24 Hours of Daytona, 12 Hours of Sebring and Le Mans would be on that list.
"I am excited for what the future holds in store for me both on and off the track and, again, am grateful to Dad and Andretti Autosport for allowing me the freedom to change things around as I'd like and to proceed forward a little differently this upcoming season."
Michael Andretti says that he is fully behind his son Marco's decision to reduce his IndyCar commitments and branch out into other forms of motorsport.
"Marco and I have discussed this at length. I both support and respect his decision to take a focus on other areas of life, and maybe even other forms of motorsport," Michael said.
"We were working on a full-season IndyCar entry for him, but he decided he wanted to take a different direction and I respect him for making that decision.
"I think for any multi-generational athlete, it can be really challenging to find your own ground and make your own name on top of your family's. Marco has always had the courage to chart his own path and I'm proud of the career he's built for himself and the person he's become. I know this decision wasn't easy.
"But, like he has said, this is not retirement. He has some great accomplishments behind him and I think he still has many more ahead of him. He's offered to help us out with some testing [starting next Tuesday at Sebring].
"I'm looking forward to having him back with us for the Indy 500, and hopefully maybe a few more races through the season."