IndyCar race driver, Colton Herta, agreed on a deal with McLaren Racing to take part in its new testing program in 2022, the team announced on Saturday.
Colton Herta, the youngest race winner in IndyCar Series history, will be a part of McLaren 2021 MCL35M car testing program, designed to evaluate potential young talent drivers at the wheel of Formula 1 machinery.
The 21-year-old will be able to combine his driver duties at IndyCar in 2022, competing full time behind the wheel of the Andretti Autosport with Curb-Agajanian No. 26 car, with McLaren F1 testing and developing program.
The move is possible due to Formula One new sporting regulations, allowing teams to test one-year-old cars under the Testing of Previous Cars (TPC) provision.
In that regard, Andreas Seidl, Team Principal, McLaren F1, outlined: “Colton is a proven talent in IndyCar, and we will be interested to see how he adapts to a Formula 1 car.
“We believe this testing program will provide him with valuable experience while demonstrating the benefit of expanding previous car testing to showcase promising drivers for the future.”
Herta, a six-time IndyCar race winner, is the son of former driver Bryan Herta, who achieved three top-ten finishes in the iconic Indianapolis 500, winning four races across his driving career.
Currently, he is a co-owner of the Andretti Herta Haupert with Marco and Curb-Agajanian entry in the American series.
While his father built a successful career as a racer and businessman, Colton would soon enough show his own talent.
The Californian contested IndyLights from 2017-2018, a feeder series to the main category, IndyCar, winning six races and finishing as a runner-up to teammate Patricio O’Ward.
The following year, Colton set off his rookie season at IndyCar, in which he set the historic benchmark becoming the youngest race winner in the series to win a race - Circuit of The Americas, at the age of 18 years old.
Only months later, he would set another record as the youngest-ever pole-sitter at Road America.
In addition, he won the 2019 Rolex 24 at Daytona with BMW Team RLL in GT Le Mans class category.
Thus far, Herta has added six race wins, seven pole positions, and nine podiums to his name.
Speaking about his new challenge with McLaren Racing, he said: “I want to thank McLaren for the opportunity to get my first laps in a Formula 1 car, which has always been on my racing bucket list.
“This will be a great opportunity for me to gain some valuable experience in a new form of motorsport and learn from such an established team like McLaren F1.”
The opportunity will help him add the necessary points to request an FIA license, required to compete in Formula One, as the TPC awards Super License points.
In a statement, Andretti Autosport asserted: “We’re pleased to see this opportunity come together for Colton and look forward to seeing him take his first laps in an F1 car.
“The practice time with McLaren F1 will help provide Colton with valuable FIA Super License points, which is a goal of ours as we continue efforts to bring the Andretti brand back to the Formula One World Championship.”
Last month, Andretti submitted a formal application to launch a Formula One team for the 2024 season, still subjected to FIA approval.
The only driver to ever win the FIA Formula One World Championship (1978), Indianapolis 500 and Daytona 500, legendary Mario Andretti, broke the news through his Twitter account, writing: “Michael [Andretti] has applied to the FIA to field a new F1 team starting in 2024. His entry, Andretti Global, has the resources and checks every box. He is awaiting the FIA’s determination.”