Andretti Autosport’s Rapid Growth Has Been Spurred by Surprise Co-Owner
Gainbridge CEO Dan Towriss was discreetly revealed as the team’s partial owner after its Long Beach Grand Prix win.
Even if you aren't into sports, you've probably noticed the Gainbridge brand making a lot of buzz over the last four or five years. Led by CEO and president of Group 1001 Dan Towriss, the insurance agency platform has bought the rights to stadiums, sponsored race cars, and perhaps most importantly, become the main sponsor of the Indy 500. Following Andretti Autosport's phenomenal 1-2-4 finish at the IndyCar Long Beach Grand Prix Sunday, it was revealed that Towriss is now co-owner of the racing outfit, which simultaneously competes in IndyCar, Indy NXT, IMSA, Formula E, Supercars, Extreme E, and other series around the world.
Interestingly enough, there was no formal announcement detailing the transaction or the percentage of Towriss' stake in Andretti Autosport. Instead, the move became evident when he joined team president Michael Andretti to receive the owners' trophy following Kyle Kirkwood's victory on Sunday. Shortly thereafter, and in what seems like a carefully choreographed soft announcement, the IndyStar published an exclusive interview with Towriss where he confirms his co-ownership of Andretti Autosport.
A spokesperson for Andretti Autosport confirmed to me that the transaction took place in late summer 2022. This matches with the original report's claim that it was around the time Gainbridge renewed a multi-year agreement to headline the Indy 500. In the interview, Towriss also declines to answer how big of a stake he owns in the team. I had the same luck when asking that same question, though the spokesperson did confirm that Towriss' ownership stake is technically in Andretti Global—the parent company of Andretti Autosport—and that Michael Andretti retains the majority ownership of the organization.
Andretti Autosport has been growing at a rapid pace over the last few years, contesting as many cars as possible in IndyCar while accelerating its involvement in various series overseas. It's also building a massive new global headquarters in Fishers, Indiana. Much of this rapid growth is due to Michael Andretti's hustle on the business side of the sport, but it would be fair to say that Towriss has likely played an important role. Initially sponsoring Zach Veach's car back in 2018, Towriss and his brands have stuck around and increased their support of the organization and IndyCar in general over the last five years. Even following a pandemic that proved almost deadly for American motorsports, Group 1001 didn't blink and went all in. (In response to various comments and rumors, it was clarified by the team's spokesperson that no investor funds are ever used for purposes of ownership stake or sponsoring its racing activities.)
This was most evident in Gainbridge's sponsorship of American F1 hopeful Colton Herta, now one of the most talented and also highest-paid IndyCar drivers. Group 1001 has pledged its support of Herta in getting him to Formula 1 and is playing a large role in Andretti's F1 venture with General Motors. In fact, looking back, having Towriss present at the ground-breaking ceremony of the organization's new HQ should've hinted at his partial ownership.
In the report, Towriss explains that Michael Andretti and the already established executives are responsible for making the racing decisions, with him only involved to "talk about which things make the most sense from time to time."
My personal take is that despite being oddly announced, a move of this caliber was necessary in order to take Andretti Autosport to the next level. If F1 is the ultimate goal, then it will need all the money and all the brains to make it happen. This new partnership will undoubtedly help the iconic racing family on both of those fronts.
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