After running a couple IZOD IndyCar Series races for Andretti Autosport last year, Indy Lights standout Carlos Munoz will be tackling the full 2014 schedule.
“I’m excited for this new year,” Munoz said.
Munoz finished third in the Firestone Indy Lights championship standings this year with four victories and five pole positions.
“Carlos stepped up this season and showed outstanding potential on track in Indy and Fontana,” team owner Michael Andretti said. “We are looking forward to welcoming him as a full time IndyCar driver and seeing what 2014 has in store. We are confident that his success in Indy Lights will carry on into his IndyCar career.”
He also ran a total of three IndyCar races last year. His debut cam at the 97th Indianapolis 500, where he finished second. He also competed in the second race of the Toronto doubleheader as a fill-in for Ryan Briscoe (fractured wrist in Race 1) for Panther Racing in addition to competing in the Firestone Indy Lights race, and also did double duty at Auto Club Speedway as the substitute for E.J. Viso.
“I was in the car once during the Toronto weekend, and everything was sort of new for me today again,” Munoz said. “My main goal was to make sure the seat, the pedals, everything was OK. I’m really happy that Andretti Autosport has given me the opportunity. Not a lot of rookies get to go up with a top team.
“I have to work a lot, but I’m ready for it. My first goal is accomplished. To be a part of this team, they believe a lot in me, and to pay them back would be to bring them great results.”
Garrett Mothersead, who worked with Munoz for the Indy 500 program, will be his race engineer.
“We worked together at Indianapolis and connected,” Munoz said. “He told me when I needed to push and when to hold back. I learned a lot that month, and I also learned from my experienced teammates at Toronto and Fontana. They always tried to help me.
“I don’t have the words to express right now how I feel. After so many years of racing and all the sacrifices — leaving my family in Colombia and going to Europe to race, then coming here to the U.S. — but finally, I’m a professional race car driver in the maximum category in America.”
While Andretti Autosport adds a new driver to line-up, they will also be switching from Chevrolet to Honda power in 2014.
2012 series champion Ryan Hunter-Reay was involved in part of the early development of Chevrolet’s new 2.2-liter, twin turbocharged V-6 engine two years ago. Now he is helping Honda Performance Development with developing their twin turbocharged engine.
“I’m very impressed with the power and delivery,” Hunter-Reay said. “We’re all happy with how we started testing. The development side of it is a lot of fun. You have an opportunity to customize and personalize and have your impact on a program. What we do right now is important, to get every bit of data out of every day, is crucial to the 2014 championship.
“All the hard work going into it will make a big difference come the season opener at St. Pete. It’s great to get back to it.”