A senior Andretti Autosport official has all but confirmed that GoDaddy will not return to the IndyCar Series as a primary car sponsor after this season, and that could impact where James Hinchcliffe works in 2014.
John Lopes, the team’s senior vice president and chief marketing officer, said Tuesday night that GoDaddy will have a reduced role with the team next year if it has one at all.
“I can’t speak for them as a company, but times have changed a little bit for them; they’re a company that relies heavily on television and they measure their return on investment based on TV,” Lopes said on 1070 the Fan, a radio station in Indianapolis. “I think it’s safe to say we’ve had a long relationship with them—I think it’s going on seven years—and I’d be surprised if we don’t have some type of relationship with them on a going-forward basis.
“[The car] is probably going to look different, but I’d be surprised if they weren’t with us in some fashion.”
Lopes said “two or three” companies are interested in sponsoring Hinchcliffe’s car next season, but none of them have committed at this point.
Michael Andretti’s team is trying to retain Hinchcliffe, who is having a breakout season with three race wins so far. Three races remain this season, starting with next week’s doubleheader in Houston.
“We’re feeling optimistic, cautiously optimistic, that we’re going to be able to pull it off with James,” Lopes said. “That deal’s not done, but we’re certainly not giving up the ghost on it.”
Hinchcliffe is believed to be the target of other teams, too, including Ganassi Racing if it can secure sponsorship.
Lopes said the team’s goal is to have five full-time cars next season, and sponsorship programs are essentially in place for Ryan Hunter-Reay and Marco Andretti. The team is “at the altar,” Lopes said, with deals for EJ Viso and rookie Carlos Munoz.