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Herta, O’Ward handed full-time IndyCar drives with Harding

by Ida Wood

Indy Lights title rivals and team-mates Patricio O’Ward and Colton Herta, who made their IndyCar debuts with Harding Racing last weekend, will compete full-time with the team in 2019.

Both drivers tested for the team once before appearing at the Grand Prix of Sonoma, with O’Ward qualifying fifth and finishing ninth, and Herta qualifying 19th and finishing 20th.

Although both drove for Andretti Autosport in Indy Lights this year, Herta’s entry came under the name of?George Michael Steinbrenner IV, the 22-year-old son of New York Yankees baseball team co-chairman Hank Steinbrenner.

Steinbrenner will support both drivers next year, with the team being entitled Harding Steinbrenner Racing as a result. As at Sonoma, the team will receive technical support from Andretti’s IndyCar operation.

O’Ward was already guaranteed a three race IndyCar programme, encompassing the Indianapolis 500, as part of the $1 million scholarship he received for winning the Indy Lights title. His performance at Sonoma has already caught the eye of the wider media and newly crowned five-time IndyCar champion Scott Dixon.

“I learned a lot [at Sonoma]! I’ll be way stronger next time,” O’Ward told Formula Scout, recounting the difficulty of keeping his tyres alive in the opening stint at Sonoma.

“I couldnt be more excited to be in IndyCar in 2019. Lets go racing!”

?It?s been amazing to get to know George, Hank and his family has been very supportive of my ambitions,? said Herta, who won the Freedom 100 on the way to second in the Indy Lights standings this year.

?I?m super happy to make the jump with the Steinbrenner name, and Mike Harding [team boss] as well. It?s cool to call yourself an IndyCar driver, but I don?t think it will probably sink in until the first practice next year at St. Pete.?