After dominating the 1993 Indy Lights Championship winning 58% of the races and conquering 8 poles, Bryan Herta moved up the the Indycars in 94' with A.J. Foyt Enterprises. Through out his open wheel career, Herta drove for teams such as Andretti Green, Rahal, Foyt, Ganassi, Forsythe and Walker, making 179 starts between CART and the IRL compiling 4 wins, 37 top 5's and 10 poles.
In 2007 Herta made the move to the Sports car ranks where he competed for Andretti Green Racing in the American Le Mans Series. Herta was joined with former Indycar teammates Tony Kanaan and Dario Franchitti to take the LMP2 win in the 07' 12 hours of Sebring, finishing 2nd overall.
A few months ago rumors whorled that Bryan was interested in acquiring Playa Del Racing's Firestone Indy Lights equipment and on the 29th of January Herta announced the formation of Bryan Herta Autosport, which will challenge for the 2009 FIL championship.
16th And Georgetown: It seems like a new team/driver is announced every week for the Firestone Indy Lights. How competitive will the FIL be in 2009?
Bryan Herta: I am really pretty amazed at the size and depth of the field this year in the Firestone Indy Lights series. We all know the problems we are facing from the issues with the US and world economies right now, but despite that it looks to me like this could be the largest and most competitive field the series has seen yet.
16th And Georgetown: How has it been taking off the drivers helmet and putting on the owners headset?
Bryan Herta: You should ask me that question again after we do our first race at St. Pete! Right now, I have really enjoyed the challenge of trying to put the right pieces in place to build a successful program. I’ve been lucky to have driven for some of the very best teams in the sport, so I feel like I’ve seen what makes the best teams different from the rest of the pack, and truthfully the #1 asset of any of the top teams are their people. Emphasis is put on the sponsorship dollars, but I’ll put a smaller team with the right people up against a bigger one without the right people any day of the week.
16th And Georgetown: Do you have any plans on moving up to the Indycar Series as an owner?
Bryan Herta: Definitely the goal for the team is to move into the Indycar Series. I would say there is not a timetable for that to happen yet, but it would be when we feel we have all the right pieces to move up and be competitive. Those pieces, of course, are driver, sponsor, crew, and opportunity. We are trying to do something a little different with the team and that will start to become clear from our first race. We really want to engage with and involve our fans and followers as much as we can, they are the lifeblood of the sport. Through our team site, http://blog.bryanhertaautosport.com/, we will have links to facebook, myspace, twitter, flicker, etc. We will be posting regularly with updates and videos on race weekends so people can truly follow the team’s progress up to and through the race. I have not seen any team reach out to the fans to the extent we are hoping to, so I’m excited to see what type of response we receive back.
16th And Georgetown: Any chance of you jumping back into an Indycar for either an entire season or for the 500?
Bryan Herta: I have not retired from driving so I suppose anything is possible. My energy and focus this off-season has been entirely on the creation of Bryan Herta Autosport, so I’d say my own driving has taken a back seat for now. If the right opportunity to run at Indy again were available, I’d be interested in that.
16th And Georgetown: What do you think the ratio of ovals, road, and street courses should be for the FIL and ICS?
Bryan Herta: My own personal preference would be 1/3 ovals, 1/3 street courses, and 1/3 road courses. I am encouraged by the direction the IRL is going with the schedule, so I think that ratio is possible in the future.
16th And Georgetown: What track not on the current FIL or ICS schedule would you like to see in the future?
Bryan Herta: Road America, no question.