One of the first second-generation open wheel race car drivers, Michael Andretti is the oldest son of racing legend Mario Andretti. Michael is CEO of Andretti Green Racing, a four-car team competing in the Indy Racing League IndyCar Series. As a team owner, he has won two back-to-back IndyCar championships and an Indy 500 win.
Michael Mario Andretti was born in Bethlehem, Pennsylvania, USA, and is a former professional racing driver who now runs a team in the Indy Racing League. He is the son of the legendary Mario Andretti, one of the most recognizable autoracing drivers of all time.
Michael Andretti started his racing career in Formula Ford in 1980. The following year he won six of the 11 Super Vee races he entered and went on to win the championship.
He then moved into Formula Atlantic in 1983 racing against the likes of Roberto Moreno. Michael won at Sears Point, Trois Rivieres and Westwood and went on to win the Championship. During that same year, he made his CART debut and also finished third in the Le Mans 24 Hour race partnering his father and Philippe Alliot.
In 1984, he won the Indianapolis 500 Rookie of the Year award. He went on to win his first Indy race in 1986, finishing as championship runner-up that year and, in 1991, he won his one and only CART title.
As a driver, he is remembered for being unlucky at the Indianapolis 500. In 1991, he led with twelve laps remaining, but finished second to Rick Mears. In 1992, he dominated the race but with eleven laps to go, his fuel pump failed, and his car coasted to a stop. He wound up in 13th place. He also dropped out while leading the Indy 500 in 1989 and 1995.
He joined the McLaren Formula 1 team for 1993, alongside the great Ayrton Senna, but was not a success. A string of collisions meant that he only completed three laps in his first three races, and he never fully got up to speed in Formula 1 cars.
Both he and his first wife Sandy experienced difficulty in coming to terms with the way of life in Europe, preferring to fly back to the States whenever possible which many feel contributed to his downfall. By September he had had enough. Having attained a little credibility by finishing third in the Italian GP, he headed back home to the familiarity of the Indy Car circuit for 1994.
After being replaced from the McLaren team by Mika Häkkinen, Andretti returned to the CART series and resumed his winning ways at the season-opener at Surfers Paradise. In 1995 he finishing runner-up in the title race but he din't settle at Ganassi Racing and moved to Newman-Haas for 1995. In the increasingly competitive world of CART racing, Michael remained one of the series' outstanding drivers. Now happily remarried, he has become the sport's elder statesman following the departure of his great rival Al Unser Jnr.
In 2003, he began running his own Indy Racing League team, known as Andretti Green Racing, having bought into the "Team Green" squad Kim Green ran with his brother Barry Green, and moved it from the Champ Car series.
An Andretti-Green Racing team driver, Dan Wheldon, won the 2005 Indianapolis 500. Andretti returned to the driver's seat for the 2006 Indianapolis 500 in a one-off effort to assist the development of his son, Marco, an IRL rookie in 2006. Michael led the race with four laps to go, falling to second behind his son Marco a lap later. Michael finished third, while Marco dropped to second after a last-lap pass by Sam Hornish Jr.
Andretti scored a major coup for the IndyCar Series in July 2006 when he announced that, for the 2007 season, Danica Patrick has signed with his team.