Andretti Autosport has announced that Kyle Kirkwood will drive for it in Indy Lights next year, having planned to field the American in the cancelled 2020 season.
Kirkwood won the Road to Indy scholarship to step up to Indy Lights for this year after winning the 2019 Indy Pro 2000 title with RP Motorsport, and had earned his seat in IP2000 via title glory in USF2000 with Cape Motorsports the year before.
The 22-year-old, who is also a Formula Regional Americas champion and a winner in prototype sportscars, topped Indy Lights pre-season testing with Andretti before the season has put on halt on the eve of the season-opening race.
Andretti and Kirkwood has already indicated his 2020 deal would be carried over to 2021, remarks that were suppported by Road to Indy CEO Dan Andersen when he decided Kirkwood’s $596,700 scholarship could be used a year later than intended.
“I am so incredibly excited to get this rolling again in Indy Lights with Andretti Autosport,” said Kirkwood.
“2020 was an unfortunate year for Indy Lights taking a season hiatus, but it has given us as a team plenty of time to focus towards having a perfect year in 2021.
“Our line-up is very strong this year and fortunately, we are pretty close friends. Our readiness and preparation is incredible and I cannot wait to kick off the 2021 season in a few short months.”
Tristan Charpentier, Danial Frost and Robert Megennis were set to be Kirkwood’s 2020 team-mates, and Megennis was quick to secure his 2021 seat with the team after this year’s action was called off but has not been formally announced.
Frost, who finished third in IP2000 with Turn 3 Motorsport and contested a part-season in FRegional Americas with Andretti once his Indy Lights plans were disrupted, will be joining Kirkwood in making a delayed graduation to Indy Lights and is expected to do so with Andretti.
The title-winning IndyCar outfit also debuted in IP2000 in 2020 with former FIA Formula 3 Championship driver Devlin DeFrancesco, via the resurrection of the co-entry with George Steinbrenner IV that ran Colton Herta to second in the 2018 Indy Lights points. The Andretti Steinbrenner Racing name is believed to be returning to the series in 2021, with DeFrancesco at the wheel.