By: Tanner Watkins
March 11, 2020 | 8:00 AM
It will be a bit of a challenging start to the 2020 season for Colton Herta’s No. 88 Andretti Harding Steinbrenner Autosport team after the group’s hauler caught fire on the way to the Firestone Grand Prix of St. Petersburg.
After initial reports from Florida news outlets, Andretti Autosport confirmed the incident on Wednesday morning. The team released a statement on Twitter stating that no individuals were harmed.
“At this time, damages to the No. 88 car appear to be minor and cosmetic, caused by heat, smoke and/or water,” the team said in a statement. “We have no current reason to believe that any competition or mechanical aspects of the No. 88 car have been damaged or compromised.”
Furthermore, the team revealed that its Indy Lights operation – which was already testing in Florida – will make their way to St. Petersburg to help “evaluate and assess.”
Backup pit equipment is being prepared at the team’s Indianapolis shop and will go out on an additional transporter today.
Last season, Herta broke onto the IndyCar scene as a freshman driver and finished a scant five points behind Chip Ganassi Racing’s Felix Rosenqvist for the Rookie of the Year title.
In Herta’s maiden IndyCar campaign, he picked up two wins and eight top-10 finishes as part of a seventh-place result in the overall championship. Over the offseason, the Harding-Steinbrenner Racing entry formally merged into Andretti Autosport for the upcoming year.
The season-opening Firestone Grand Prix of St. Petersburg kicks off on Friday with practice, followed by practice and qualifications on Saturday, and the race itself on Sunday afternoon. Green flag is scheduled for 3:30 p.m. ET and will be aired live on NBCSN and the Pennzoil IndyCar Radio Network.
Header image by Jonathan Ferrey/Getty Images.