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IndyCar race winner Herta switches to #26 Andretti car for 2021

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Andretti Autosport has announced that Colton Herta will switch to the IndyCar team's #26 car, taking over the car piloted by James Hinchcliffe towards the end of 2020.

Herta raced under the Harding Steinbrenner Racing banner in his rookie season of 2019, with the team nominally only an Andretti satellite operation, but this became Andretti Harding Steinbrenner Autosport in 2020.

For next season, Herta, who already has three race wins to his credit, takes over the Gainbridge-sponsored #26 Andretti Autosport-Honda.

From 2018, this entry was piloted by Zach Veach who relinquished the cockpit to Hinchcliffe for the last three rounds of 2020.

Herta scored one win in his sophomore season, which was Andretti's sole triumph of 2020, but his remarkable pace, consistency and relative absence of error when the team was struggling in the first half of the season helped him finish third in the points race, beaten only by Chip Ganassi Racing's Scott Dixon and Penske's Josef Newgarden.

"We're really excited to welcome back Gainbridge and look forward to seeing what Colton can do in 2021," said Andretti Autosport owner Michael Andretti.

"Colton's career has been on a steady rise. We're confident that he will continue to grow and advance, and we'll see the #26 in victory lane soon."

Herta told Autosport that he is optimistic that his third place in the championship can be improved upon for 2021, but admitted he still feels he has things to learn from his more experienced teammates.

"I never felt qualifying was a problem, and never felt that since joining the series, but my problems initially were racecraft and managing an entire stint," Herta said.

"I still don't think I'm quite at the level of [team-mate] Alexander Rossi in that regard, particularly when it comes to saving fuel while still going fast. Some tracks I'm just as good as him but I noticed this year that other tracks I struggle in that direction.

"So I've been working hard in the off-season, going over some data and trying to close the gap.

"But there are some things that Rossi does really well in the races that I'm trying to work towards now.

Herta added that the #26 will be of particular significance to him as he ran it in his formative years in karting as a nod to his father, Bryan Herta.

"Right around when I started in karting was when Dad was wrapping up in IndyCar, and he switched to the LMP2 car which carried #26.

"I'm really excited for this new partnership with Gainbridge. They've been a huge supporter of Andretti Autosport and IndyCar as a whole.

"The livery is wonderful to look at and will pop at every track we go to. I can't wait to see that livery at the front of the field."

The Autosport 70 special, celebrating the best of motorsport, is no longer available to buy online, but is available to new magazine subscribers. To subscribe, please go to: autosportmedia.com

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