INDIANAPOLIS (Nov. 4, 2021) — Graduating from the Road to Indy ladder, Devlin DeFrancesco has been confirmed to pilot Andretti Steinbrenner Autosport’s No. 29 Honda for the 2022 NTT INDYCAR SERIES season. The Italian-Canadian driver made his first outings behind the wheel of an Indy car at two recent test days with Andretti Autosport and will make his first official race start on the streets of St. Petersburg, Florida in February.
“We’re thrilled to keep Devlin in the Andretti Autosport family as he makes his final jump up the Road to Indy ladder into INDYCAR,” said Michael Andretti, CEO and Chairman, Andretti Autosport. “Devlin has been a great addition to our Indy Lights program and has showed a lot of growth and strength at the recent test days. I think he’ll continue to grow with INDYCAR and I’m really glad that we could again partner with George and the Steinbrenner Racing team for the No. 29.”
“Two years ago, we started a journey with Devlin with the intent to one day take him all the way to the NTT INDYCAR SERIES and I’m thrilled that day has come,” said George Steinbrenner IV, CEO, Steinbrenner Racing. “From Indy Pro 2000 to Indy Lights and now to INDYCAR, he really impressed with his two initial days in an Indy car and we’re excited to see him in action in 2022.”
After making his Road to Indy debut in 2020 with Andretti Steinbrenner Autosport in Indy Pro 2000, DeFrancesco has quickly ascended the Road to Indy ladder moving into Indy Lights in 2021 and ultimately into the NTT INDYCAR SERIES in 2022. DeFrancesco earned the Rookie of the Year title and finished second in the Indy Pro 2000 Championship in 2020 and scored two podiums, nine top-five finishes, and 18 top-10 finishes in his Indy Lights debut season in 2021.
“I am incredibly grateful to Michael (Andretti) and George (Steinbrenner IV) for the belief they have shown in me over the past two seasons moving up the Road to Indy ladder,” DeFrancesco said. “To now take that final step into INDYCAR with two of the world’s biggest names in sports – Andretti and Steinbrenner – is an incredible opportunity that I can’t wait to take full advantage of. I have three very experienced teammates to learn from and that is what makes this opportunity even more exciting. To get to race in the NTT INDYCAR SERIES with Andretti Steinbrenner Autosport and to contest the Indianapolis 500 is a dream come true and I’m so looking forward to getting started.”
DeFrancesco rounds out the Andretti Autosport 2022 NTT INDYCAR SERIES lineup joining already announced drivers Alexander Rossi (No. 27 NAPA AUTO PARTS / AutoNation Honda), Colton Herta (No. 26 Gainbridge Honda) and Romain Grosjean (No. 28 DHL Honda).
The 21-year-old’s debut INDYCAR season will again be supported by his 2021 Indy Lights sponsors including hydrogen production and dispensing fueling infrastructure innovators, PowerTap Hydrogen; Kimoa – the fashion, clothing, and accessories brand founded by Fernando Alonso; world-class racing simulator manufacturer AIS; Apple’s largest premium retail partner, Simply Mac; Seattle, WA-based Jones Soda Co; software and services company Fyllo; Seattle-WA and Miami, FL-based Sol Yoga.
For more information, visit www.AndrettiAutosport.com.
About Andretti Autosport
Andretti Autosport, led by racing legend Michael Andretti, boasts a wide racing portfolio rooted in tradition and designed for success.
Under the banners of Andretti Autosport and Avalanche Andretti Formula E, the Indianapolis-based team fields multiple entries across the INDYCAR SERIES, Indy Lights, the FIA Formula E World Championship and the IMSA Prototype Challenge LMP3 division. The team also competes as Walkinshaw Andretti United in the Australian Supercars category through partnership with Walkinshaw Racing and United Autosports additionally the team fields an entry in the Extreme E championship via Andretti United Extreme E.
The global racing enterprise boasts four INDYCAR SERIES championships, five Indy Light titles, one Pro Mazda championship, a Silver Class GT4 Championship and has captured victory five times at the famed Indianapolis 500. The team also holds two X Games Gold Medals and five U.S. rallycross championships.
To share in the Andretti story, please visit online at AndrettiAutosport.com and follow on social media with #AllAndretti.
About Steinbrenner Racing
Founded in 2016 by George Steinbrenner IV, Steinbrenner Racing is an American-based motorsports team competing within the NTT INDYCAR Series in addition to related and developmental series designed to groom future INDYCAR Series stars. A member of a family known for winning and success with the New York Yankees, Mr. Steinbrenner has shown a passion for racing from an early age along with a commitment toward team ownership by beginning his leadership path within motorsports as an intern. Though a young team, Steinbrenner Racing has experienced consistent success within each series entered. Included within is an unpreced ented sweep of three Indy Lights races in May of 2018 at Indianapolis Motor Speedway, capped by a Freedom 100 win. Steinbrenner Racing would go on to earn designation as the youngest ever NTT INDYCAR SERIES race-winning team owner and driver with a notable 2019 triumph at Circuit of The Americas in Austin, TX.
Competing within the world’s fastest and most diverse racing series, Steinbrenner Racing enters its sixth year of competition in 2022 having earned eleven race wins, fifteen poles and twenty-nine total podiums.
DEVLIN DEFRANCESCO Q&A
Q: What does it feel like to know you are going to be an INDYCAR driver for Andretti Steinbrenner Autosport in 2022?
A: “It really is a dream come true. When I came back from Europe and started my journey on the Road To Indy with Andretti Steinbrenner Autosport this was always my target.
“To go from Indy Pro 2000, to Indy Lights and now to the NTT INDYCAR SERIES with the same team has been a huge help.
“After two years, this place already feels like home and that will make the transition into the INDYCAR so much easier.
“To compete in this championship is a huge challenge but I can’t wait to get started. I have just loved my first two days in an INDYCAR and I can’t wait to get back in the car again.”
Q: What were your first impressions of the INDYCAR?
A: “The biggest thing you notice is how incredible these cars are on the brakes compared to Indy Lights. You can go in so much deeper and harder and they stop incredibly well.
“I’ve had two days – one and Sebring and one at Barber Motorsports Park – and I really started to feel comfortable and could push really hard in the last test.
“You notice the aeroscreen when you first get in the car, but once you are up and running, you are really not aware of it at all.
“The engine from Honda was really smooth and despite the fact the car has more power, more downforce – more of everything compared to the Indy Lights car – it really feels easier to drive.”
Q: How has the Road To Indy ladder prepared you for this jump to INDYCAR?
A: “I’ll be forever grateful for my time on the Road to Indy ladder. After a season in Indy Lights I felt very well prepared to climb aboard the INDYCAR.
“The series does a brilliant job of providing that stepping stone for any driver and the competition in all the classes is incredibly fierce.
“Have raced extensively in Europe and now having done two years on the Road to Indy – I can really see why so many international drivers are taking a serious look at coming to the US.
“A lot of guys who I raced against in the past in Europe have been asking me about it and I cannot recommend it highly enough.”
Q: The Andretti and Steinbrenner names are two of the biggest in American sports history – what does it feel like to get to race for them?
A: “This is the stuff you dream about as a kid. The individual performances of Mario, Michael and every member of the Andretti family is legendary. But the incredible success of Andretti Autosport as an organization across so many different types of racing is just amazing.
“Having that Italian blood in me makes for an even nicer bond. Michael has been brilliant and has always been available to talk to when I needed to seek out some advice.
“And then you combine Andretti with the Steinbrenner name – that is even more enormous. Obviously, the success of the New York Yankees is legendary but George is forging his own path in this sport and I am very honored to a part of it. I never envisaged that one day one of my team owners would be basically the same age as me. He has also been incredibly supportive and I am very grateful that both Michael and George has shown so much faith in me.”
Q: What does it feel like to know you’ll be racing in the Indy 500 next year?
A: “ I can’t wait for May! I’ve been at the 500 for the past two years and the event was everything that I thought it would be and more. Now I’m going to get to race in it next year is brilliant.
“One of the big surprises of my return to racing in the US is how quickly I have fallen in love with oval racing.
“I got my first win in Indy Pro 2000 at World Wide Technology Raceway and I’m super pumped about racing in Texas, Iowa, the Indy 500 and returning to WWTR.
“I’ve always felt really comfortable in fast corners throughout my entire career dating back to karting.
“That has transferred across to the ovals. Having my first INDYCAR oval race in Texas will be a big step but I’m really looking forward to it.
“I’ll be one of the new kids on the block next year and I’m cognizant of making sure I will be very respectful of my rivals on track.
“The fact that I’m going with such an experienced team like Andretti is going to be a huge help.”
Q: What are you hoping to learn from your teammates Colton Herta, Alexander Rossi and Romain Grosjean?
A: “That is going to be awesome and will give me some great benchmarks to work towards. That is going to be a huge advantage compared to somebody stepping into INDYCAR with a small team.
“Colton is already a great friend and was very helpful for me in Indy Lights this year. He told me a lot of what to expect before I first drove the INDYCAR and he was exactly right.
“For me, it’s the team, the teammates – the entire environment is an incredible opportunity for me.”
Q: How big a thrill is this announcement for your family?
A: “I owe them everything. I gave them such a fright when I was born 15 weeks early and nearly didn’t make it. I spent the first four months of my life in an incubator at Women’s College Hospital in Toronto.
“I got started when Dad had go-karts under the Christmas tree for my brother Lachlan and I years ago.
“Once I started racing it was all I ever wanted to do. To now get the chance to graduate to INDYCAR is a true childhood dream coming true.
“Canada has had some incredible drivers in this championship over the years and that gives me added incentive to follow in their footsteps. The Honda Indy at Toronto next year is going to be one race that my entire family is really looking forward to.”
From Andretti Autosport