The AJ Foyt Racing team has signed IndyCar veteran Santino Ferrucci to partner with rookie Benjamin Pedersen to form an all-new lineup for the Chevy-powered NTT IndyCar Series team.
Ferrucci, who brings 43 races of IndyCar experience to the team earned with Dale Coyne Racing, Rahal Letterman Lanigan Racing, Dreyer & Reinbold Racing, and Juncos Hollinger Racing, joins the Foyt organization as part of a two-tier initiative.
Coming off a season where Foyt’s pair of primary entries finished last and next-to-last in the championship, the Connecticut native arrives with expectations to help turn the team’s fortunes around and return the proud organization to a regular contender for quality finishes. And despite his youth, the 24-year-old is also meant to mentor Pedersen, the 23-year-old Danish American Indy Lights graduate, who can learn a lot from the oval and road racing specialist.
“It’s incredibly exciting to be back in the IndyCar Series full-time,” said Ferrucci. “Being a part-time driver over the last two years has been hard for me. I’m a race car driver and I want to compete. Working with different teams has been exciting, and I’m proud that no matter which because I’ve raced, I’ve always shown speed and consistency. I couldn’t be more excited to join AJ Foyt Racing in the 14 Chevy. I can’t wait to make the best of it.”
Ferrucci’s last full season of IndyCar competition came in 2020, his third and final with the Dale Coyne Racing with Vasser Sullivan team, which produced his best Indianapolis 500 finish to date with a run to fourth, and four other top 10 performances that led to his taking 13th in the championship. A limited effort with RLL in 2021 gave an indicator of Ferrucci’s capabilities in a bigger team when he placed sixth at the Indy 500 and delivered four top 10s from five races.
He raced for three teams last season, securing the best finish of 2022 for RLL’s No. 45 Honda entry with ninth at Texas after stepping in to sub for the injured Jack Harvey; at the 500, Ferrucci finished 10th for DRR and subbed for Callum Ilott at JHR at Detroit where he finished 21st after a trouble-filled race.
“I am thrilled to welcome Santino to the team,” said team president Larry Foyt. “He’s shown a knack for getting towards the front of the field, and I think he is a racer who moves forward on race day. AJ sees the fire in him and has enjoyed their meetings together. I think Santino’s experience will help his rookie teammate as well, so he is a great addition to our roster.”
With Ferrucci confirmed and Pedersen locked in on a multi-year deal, the last question for the team is if Dalton Kellett, who joined the outfit in 2020 and has competed in 33 races in Foyt cars, will remain in its plans for 2023.
RACER understands Kellett and Larry Foyt were due to meet in Indianapolis on Thursday and if a deal is struck, the Canadian would participate in a third car in a part-or full-time arrangement. A call to Kellet for comment was not immediately returned.