By Christopher DeHarde, IndyCar & Road to Indy Writer
After a successful 2017 Prototype Challenge campaign in the IMSA WeatherTech Sports Car Championship, Pato O’Ward has returned to his roots and signed with Andretti Autosport to contest the 2018 Indy Lights presented by Cooper Tires alongside returning teammates Colton Herta, Dalton Kellett and Ryan Norman.
The Mexican racer began his open wheel journey in the U.S. in the Pro Mazda Championship presented by Cooper Tires in 2015 and after winning five of the first six Pro Mazda races in 2016, O’Ward was set to win the title until a late season momentum swing to then-Team Pelfrey teammate Aaron Telitz caught fire and edged him out for the championship.
Following 2016, O’Ward ran the first four races of the 2017 Indy Lights campaign for Team Pelfrey before returning to sports cars full time but the passion for open wheel never left.
At the Chris Griffis Memorial Test, O’Ward was fastest in the fifth of eight sessions and was in the top five in five of those sessions before signing with Andretti.
“I want to thank the whole Andretti Autosport team for the incredible opportunity they are giving me,” O’Ward said in a team statement. “I’m really happy to be with this power house team and I will give this my all to deliver results. I have been working really hard with Michael [Andretti] and J-F [Thormann] to put this deal together, and I’m more than proud to be a part of such a prestigious team like Andretti. I can’t wait to start working with everyone and I’m sure its going to be an awesome year, so lets go get it!”