By Christopher DeHarde, IndyCar & Road to Indy Writer
Andretti Autosport’s announcement that Nico Jamin will join the team’s Indy Lights presented by Cooper Tires program was confirmation of the their commitment to returning to the top of the championship table.
Jamin had a rough go of it during the 2016 season of the Pro Mazda Championship presented by Cooper Tires. Then again, anybody not in a Team Pelfrey car did, but the 20-year-old Frenchman won two races en route to third in the championship.
The 2015 winner of the Cooper Tires USF2000 Championship powered by Mazda is taking over the No. 27 entry and will be looking to become the first Indy Lights champion for the Andretti squad since 2009, when J.R. Hildebrand won the championship for what was then known as AGR-AFS Racing.
The past two seasons for Jamin and Andretti couldn’t have been more different. For Jamin, he won ten out of 16 races on his way to winning the USF2000 championship in 2015, while Andretti Autosport had its first winless season ever in Indy Lights. Jamin’s two victories in Pro Mazda competition was equal to Andretti Autosport’s Indy Lights victories with Dean Stoneman – who won at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway on both the oval and the road course.
Heading into 2017 with a team such as Andretti helps make Jamin a top contender for the Indy Lights championship – albeit maybe slightly unexpectedly given that some drivers might spend a second year in Pro Mazda before moving to Indy Lights. However, if he can replicate his testing performance at the Chris Griffis Memorial Test at the start of his upcoming 2017 campaign, then Jamin will be a force to be reckoned with.