Andretti Autosport has announced the signing of current IndyCar rookie Kyle Kirkwood for the 2023 season, filling the seat being vacated by Alexander Rossi’s soon-to-be-announced move to Arrow McLaren SP.
Reigning Indy Lights champion Kirkwood raced for Andretti in the feeder category last year, but made his IndyCar debut with AJ Foyt Racing this season.
Though Andretti’s announcement of Kirkwood made no deference to Rossi’s departure after six seasons, Kirkwood was stated as driving the #27 entry Rossi has used for most of his IndyCar career and as representing the Rossi car’s regular sponsor AutoNation.
Arrow McLaren SP – which is expanding to three full-time cars in 2023 – is expected to announce the signing of 2016 Indianapolis 500 winner Rossi on Friday in Detroit.
He will join Pato O’Ward in the team, with Felix Rosenqvist potentially also staying on if he can do enough to earn a fresh contract.
Kirkwood, 23, had a remarkable rise towards IndyCar, winning titles in every category of the Road to Indy ladder.
Andretti Autosport chairman Michael Andretti said: “We really enjoyed having Kyle as part of our Indy Lights team and he’s off to a strong start in IndyCar.
“I think he’ll bring a fresh perspective and will be competitive. We are looking forward to helping him continue his career growth.”
Tenth in Long Beach is Kirkwood’s best IndyCar result so far, as the Foyt team continues to struggle to get beyond the midfield. He has shown flashes of strong pace, while also making some errors.
Having crashed in his first IndyCar oval race at Texas Motor Speedway in March, he drove a sensible race to 17th in last weekend’s Indianapolis 500.
Andretti already has Colton Herta under contract for 2023 too, and The Race understands Romain Grosjean and Devlin DeFrancesco are also likely to stay on.
Though Andretti went into 2022 with expectations of a title bid, it has struggled for results so far this season outside Herta’s Indianapolis road course win and Grosjean’s second place in Long Beach.
“Andretti Autosport is a place I’ve called home for years past and I have truly felt like family,” said Kirkwood.
“I have a ton of loyalty to the team, and it means a lot to have Michael and the Andretti team offer me this opportunity.
“I have worked extremely hard this season and will continue to work harder every day for the AJ Foyt team.”