Saturday, July 13, 2024

Herta’s throwback livery reveals desire for more across IndyCar

Colton Herta‘s #26 Honda will look a bit different than usual for the last race of the 2023 IndyCar Series season. On Friday morning, Andretti Autosport surprised Herta with a throwback scheme for the race at Laguna Seca on September 10th, modeled after the car that his father Bryan drove to victory at the same track in 1998. Colton gave that exact car to his father as a birthday present in May, reuniting the two for the first time in 25 years.

The black, white, and yellow machine will don Group1001 and Gainbridge sponsorship in place of the original Shell adornments, but the hype the announcement generated is just the same. Scott McLaughlin led the way in praising Andretti’s move amongst fellow drivers, calling it “bad ass” and pulling for a full throwback weekend, similar to what the NASCAR Cup Series does on a yearly basis in Darlington. NBC commentator and former Andretti driver James Hinchcliffe joined dozens of fans in enjoying the throwback, calling the livery “incredible”.

Bryan Herta, who served as his son’s race strategist before moving to the same role with Kyle Kirkwood earlier this season, said he was “…proud and blessed” for the opportunity to share the father-son connection with the world, even hinting at a further partnership with Shell later on in the future, according to a post on his X (formerly Twitter) account on Friday.

All of this begs one question:

Does IndyCar need more throwback liveries?

I won’t even entertain a negative answer there, because the answer is a resounding yes. It’s safe to say that fans love a good retro scheme, and not just in racing. Alternates and throwbacks have found a place in other sports as well, not to mention the marketing opportunities they create for teams. Andretti has already taken care of the marketing side of things, putting a Colton Herta driver jersey up for pre-order on their website.

Herta sits just outside of the top 10 in 11th in the championship, just four points behind former teammate Alexander Rossi with three races to go.

The Firestone Grand Prix of Monterey can be seen at 2:30 EST/6:30 GMT on NBC from Laguna Seca.