Andretti-Herta, Rahal IndyCar teams bolster front office with offseason moves

In an attempt to shore up and strengthen its respective teams, Andretti Autosport and Rahal Letterman Lanigan Racing IndyCar Series teams made separate announcements Thursday.

Driver Marco Andretti is now a partner in the car that he drives, the No. 98 Honda. It is now the Andretti Herta Autosport with Marco Andretti & Curb-Agajanian entry. The enhanced role will help the son of team owner Michael Andretti prepare for an ownership stake once his driving career concludes.

"I’m proud to see Marco looking beyond the racing seat and taking a vested interest in not just his car entry, but the future of motorsport that can one day take him beyond his driving career," said Andretti Autosport CEO Michael Andretti. "Marco has many driving years ahead of him and many victories yet to come but is continuing to see the big picture of racing and that will, in turn, make him a stronger competitor all around."

The younger Andretti is hoping to learn more about the racing industry by becoming more than being the driver.

"I’m happy and proud to invest back into the team that I have been with for 13 seasons and counting," Marco Andretti said. "I truly believe this is the best team out there, and I’m looking forward to a fun, competitive future with the U.S. Concrete No. 98 family."

On Oct. 24, Schmidt Peterson Motorsports announced that Piers Phillips was departing that team as its general manager and would be replaced by 31-year-old Tyler Kiel, previously the team manager.

On Thursday, Rahal Letterman Lanigan Racing announced Phillips will be team president.

Phillips will report directly to team ownership and oversee operations for the team’s involvement in the IndyCar Series, IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship and Jaguar I-PACE eTROPHY Series. Most recently, Phillips spent the past three seasons at Schmidt Peterson Motorsports as general manager.

"Mike, Dave and I are pleased that Piers is joining the team as its first-ever president," said Bobby Rahal, team co-owner with David Letterman and Michael Lanigan. "His past successes speak volumes of his ability in all facets of racing, and I look forward to working closely with Piers to take the team to the next level."

In 2018, RLL expanded to two full-season entries in the IndyCar Series for the first time since 2013 and earned one win and three podium finishes. On the sports car racing front, the team worked closely with BMW Motorsport to successfully launch the BMW M8 GTE in the IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship and BMW Team RLL earned two wins, five podium finishes and three poles. On Dec. 15, the team will debut a two-car program in the Jaguar I-PACE eTROPHY Series at the Ad Diriyah E Prix.

"I was incredibly honored to be approached by Bobby about this opportunity given his experience, success and stature," Phillips said. "From the moment I sat down with him to discuss this role, I just fell in love with his passion, drive and enthusiasm to continue the already impressive accomplishments that RLL has achieved as well as his desire to take the team even further in the future. He is an infectious character that I think I will thoroughly enjoy working with.

"I also spent some time with Mike Lanigan in Chicago and was equally impressed with his attitude and approach. To be involved at this level with not only the IndyCar program, but also the sports car program and eTROPHY, was a very easy decision for me and one that I know I will thoroughly enjoy."

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