Matthew Brabham will take a page from Romain Grosjean’s playbook and take a step back in the hope of making a big return to the top of the sport. Just as Grosjean lost traction in Formula 1, returned to GP2, won the 2011 title, and used the momentum to revitalize his name in F1, Brabham is chasing a similar outcome with Andretti Autosport, where he completes the team’s four-car Indy Lights program.
It’s a homecoming for the 2012 USF2000 and 2013 Indy Pro 2000 champion, who graduated to Indy Lights in 2014 with the Andretti team, but fell short of a Road To Indy sweep after placing fourth in the standings. A few outings for Andretti in Formula E were also made during that period, along with a brief return to Indy Lights in 2015.
Brabham went on to make his NTT IndyCar Series debut in 2016 on the IMS road course and the Indy 500 in a KVSH Racing-led effort for Pirtek Team Murray that was plagued with troubles. Since then, the 27-year-old’s won three championships in the Stadium Super Trucks series and has been a ringer-for-hire in sports cars.
Team owner Michael Andretti and team president JF Thormann – who hired Grosjean for the team’s IndyCar program – feel Brabham, who is considered among the most talented young drivers of the 2010s whose open-wheel career was cut short, deserves another chance.
“We’re really excited to have Matty back in our Indy Lights lineup,” Andretti said. “He’s always shown natural talent behind the wheel and was a great Road to Indy contender for us in the past. I’m really looking forward to seeing what our Indy Lights lineup accomplishes this year as all of their talents continue to grow.”
In Brabham’s absence, Andretti Autosport has established itself as the leading Indy Lights team, winning the last three championships.
“I’m extremely grateful to Michael, JF and everyone who is a part of Andretti Autosport,” Brabham said. “They have given me many great opportunities over the years, including this one. We have accomplished amazing results together. We have won a total of 14 races and a championship in the past. I’m absolutely ecstatic to be back racing full time in a proper open-wheel car again with a top team. I feel it’s where I’ve always belonged. I’m willing to give everything I have at this and more to follow my dream of getting back into the IndyCar Series.”