Andretti Autosport announced Wednesday (May 5) that they will move their sports car racing operation from IMSA Prototype Challenge to the IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship, effective immediately. The team will continue to race in the LMP3 class. Jarett Andretti will continue to drive the car, re-numbered from No. 18 to No. 36 due to Era Motorsport having the rights to the No. 18 in the IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship. Andretti will be joined by Oliver Askew for Mid-Ohio at minimum.
“We’re really proud of what Jarett and our LMP3 team has accomplished so far in the Prototype Challenge, and are looking forward to this next step into full WeatherTech Sportscar competition,” Michael Andretti, chairman and CEO of Andretti Autosport, stated in a press release. “Continued sportscar growth has always been on the radar for us at Andretti Autosport and this helps to set things in the right direction. I think Jarett and Oliver will make a great pairing for Mid-Ohio for our first official outing.”
There are few differences between running IMSA Prototype Challenge with a current-spec LMP3 car and running the LMP3 class in the IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship. The team will be running the same Ligier JS P320-Nissan that they’ve had all year. There are minimal rule changes between the two series.
For Andretti, Mid-Ohio will be his IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship debut. He has one career start in a top-level sports car series. That took place in the 2012 Rolex 24 at Daytona. Jarett shared a Mazda RX-8 for Yellow Dragon Motorsports in the GT class with his father John, Anders Krohn and Taylor Hacquard. The team ended up dropping out due to engine failure and finished 50th overall, 37th in class.
More recently, Jarett raced full-time in SRO America Pirelli GT4 America Sprint and Pirelli GT4 America SprintX divisions in a McLaren 570S GT4. In 2019, Jarett finished fifth in Pirelli GT4 America Sprint points with a victory at Watkins Glen. He had started the year as an Am driver, but was promoted to the Pro division midseason. He also finished fifth in SprintX Pro-Am points with a weekend sweep at Las Vegas Motor Speedway, along with additional victories at Canadian Tire Motorsport Park and Sonoma Raceway.
Last year, Jarett drove full-time in SprintX alongside Colin Mullan. They claimed the championship in the Silver Cup on the strength of four class victories. In a part-time Sprint schedule, Jarett finished fourth in Pro points with six podium finishes in 10 starts. In Prototype Challenge, Jarett has been teamed up with Tristan Herbert this year. The duo finished fourth in Daytona back in January, but ran into mechanical issues on the second lap and finished 20th in Sebring.
For Askew, Andretti Autosport will be the third different team that he will have driven for in as many races this year. At Daytona, he was part of the LMP3 class winning lineup from Riley Motorsports in the Rolex 24 at Daytona alongside Gar Robinson, Scott Andrews and Spencer Pigot. For Sebring, Askew scored a last-minute ride with Forty7 Motorsports in their Duqueine M30-D08-Nissan. With Stevan McAleer and Austin McCusker, Askew finished a lap down in fourth. Last year, Askew raced in the NTT IndyCar Series for Arrow McLaren SP. In 12 starts, Askew scored a third-place finish in the first 250-lap race at Iowa Speedway and had two additional top 10s. However, his season was derailed by a big crash in the Indianapolis 500 that resulted in an undiagnosed concussion. After being out of sorts for the doubleheader weekends at World Wide Technology Raceway at Gateway and Mid-Ohio, Askew sat out the Harvest GP doubleheader at Indianapolis.