The Italian-Canadian driver, who scored nine top-five finishes in this year’s Indy Lights championship and finished sixth in the standings, performed impressively in his first two IndyCar tests with the Andretti Autosport team, at Sebring Raceway short course and Barber Motorsports Park.
“We’re thrilled to keep Devlin in the Andretti Autosport family as he makes his final jump up the Road to Indy ladder into IndyCar,” said Michael Andretti, CEO and chairman of Andretti Autosport. “Devlin has been a great addition to our Indy Lights programme and has showed a lot of growth and strength at the recent test days.
“I think he’ll continue to grow with IndyCar and I’m really glad that we could again partner with George [Steinbrenner IV] and the Steinbrenner Racing team for the #29.”
Steinbrenner himself added: “Two years ago, we started a journey with Devlin with the intent to one day take him all the way to the NTT IndyCar Series and I’m thrilled that day has come. From Indy Pro 2000 to Indy Lights and now to INDYCAR, he really impressed with his two initial days in an Indy car and we’re excited to see him in action in 2022.”
DeFrancesco, who finished second in his Indy Pro 2000 season in 2020, stated: “I am incredibly grateful to Michael and George or the belief they have shown in me over the past two seasons moving up the Road to Indy ladder. To now take that final step into INDYCAR with two of the world’s biggest names in sports – Andretti and Steinbrenner – is an incredible opportunity that I can’t wait to take full advantage of.
“I have three very experienced team-mates to learn from and that is what makes this opportunity even more exciting. To get to race in the NTT INDYCAR SERIES with Andretti Steinbrenner Autosport and to contest the Indianapolis 500 is a dream come true and I’m so looking forward to getting started.”
Devlin DeFrancesco, Carlin Dallara F317 – Volkswagen
Photo by: FIA F3 / Suer
DeFrancesco was born 15 weeks premature and spent the first four months of his life in an incubator in a hospital in Toronto, and admits he owes his family “everything”.
“I got started when Dad had go-karts under the Christmas tree for my brother Lachlan and I years ago,” he said. “Once I started racing it was all I ever wanted to do. To now get the chance to graduate to IndyCar is a true childhood dream coming true.
“Canada has had some incredible drivers in this championship over the years and that gives me added incentive to follow in their footsteps. The Honda Indy at Toronto next year is going to be one race that my entire family is really looking forward to.”
He also said that he expected to be able to soak up the knowledge of team-mates Herta, Rossi and Grosjean.
“That is going to be awesome and will give me some great benchmarks to work towards,” he said. “That is going to be a huge advantage compared to somebody stepping into IndyCar with a small team.
“Colton is already a great friend and was very helpful for me in Indy Lights this year. He told me a lot of what to expect before I first drove the IndyCar and he was exactly right. For me, it’s the team, the team-mates – the entire environment is an incredible opportunity for me.”