(September 7, 2018) Harding Racing will add a second Chevrolet-powered IndyCar to their lineup for the Grand Prix of Sonoma next weekend at Sonoma Raceway. Indy Lights Presented by Cooper Tires 2018 Champion Patricio O’Ward will pilot the #8, and 2018 Freedom 100 winner and Indy Lights Runner-Up Colton Herta will pilot the #88 in their Verizon IndyCar Series debut.
Herta and O’Ward are recent Mazda Road to Indy graduates. In Herta’s two years of competing in the Indy Lights Presented by Cooper Tires championship, Herta earned six wins, ten pole positions and 20 podium finishes. O’Ward finished his tenure of Indy Lights with nine wins, nine pole positions and 14 podiums.
“We’re really happy with how Patricio did in the car at Sonoma,” said Brian Barnhart. “Coupling that with the excellent job that Colton did in Portland earlier in August, Harding Racing is really excited about being able to provide their Verizon IndyCar Series race day debuts next week at Sonoma.”
“I’m super happy to get my start in IndyCar next weekend for the Sonoma Grand Prix,” said Colton Herta. “Mike Harding and Brian Barnhart have been very supportive in this effort and I can't think of a better place to get my start in IndyCar. There are too many people to thank for this opportunity, but I'm very thankful for Harding Racing.”
Yesterday, Patricio tested with Harding Racing at Sonoma Raceway. This was his first time in an IndyCar.
“Really happy how the day ended,” said Patricio O’Ward. “We were very quick, and the car felt very good. The differences between the Lights and these cars are insanely different. The amount of grip and the amount of power that these cars have is just something different, I’ve never driven something is fast. Around Sonoma the difference in this aero makes the car so much heavier and the braking capabilities of these type of brakes are amazing. They’re very strong. The car is extremely difficult, so I’m going to have to go to the gym. I’m just super happy with how the day ended and I honestly could not have imagined the car being better. It is a monster. It is a beast. I’m really looking forward to the race weekend, I know we’re going to be pretty strong.”
The 2018 Verizon IndyCar Series finale will take place at Sonoma Raceway on Sunday, September 16. NBC Sports will broadcast qualifying on Saturday from 8:00-9:30 p.m. ET. Green flag for the IndyCar Grand Prix of Sonoma will be 3:40 p.m. and will be broadcast live on NBCSN.
About Harding Racing
Indianapolis based Harding Racing made its Verizon INDYCAR Series debut at the 2017 Indianapolis 500. The team is led by Mike Harding owner and president of Harding Group, a concrete and asphalt paving company based in Indianapolis. Brian Barnhart is team president of Harding Racing and two-time Indianapolis 500 winner Al Unser Jr. serves the team as executive consultant. The team currently competes full-time in the Verizon IndyCar Series.
About Colton Herta
Colton Herta began racing at the age of four. At 12 he turned to cars and promptly won the Pacific F1600 Series championship and finished second in the Skip Barber Summer Series. The Valencia, California native then moved to Europe to test his talents internationally. He finished third in the British Formula 4 championship in 2015 and third in the Euroformula Open championship in 2016. After returning to the United States, the American quickly impressed by winning the second race of the Indy Lights Presented by Cooper Tires 2017 season. That year he also led the series with seven pole positions, set five new track records and earned Rookie of the Year honors. Most recently, Herta finished second in the Indy Lights Presented by Cooper Tires championship with four wins, three pole positions and 13 podium finishes.
About Patricio O’Ward
Patricio O’Ward hails from Monterrey, Mexico. After creating an extremely successful karting resume, O’Ward moved to cars in 2013 competing in the Formula LATAM F2000 Series in Mexico, the Formula Renault 1.6 NEC Junior series in Europe and the Pacific F2000 series in the United States. He entered the Mazda Road to Indy Series in 2015 finished sixth in that year’s Pro Mazda Championship and earning a close second place finish in 2016. Last year, O’Ward won the Championship Prototype Challenge class in dominant fashion with seven victories in eight races including the Rolex 24 at Daytona. He also competed in the first four Indy Lights Presented by Cooper Tires races of the season earning a podium finish in the second event of the year. This year, the 19-year-old won the Indy Lights Presented by Cooper Tires championship by 44 points over teammate Colton Herta. He ended the season with nine wins, 13 podium finishes and set a new series record for pole positions in a season with nine pole positions.