Pratt Miller hits pause on IndyCar team plans

Michigan’s Pratt Miller Motorsports organization has parked its interest in joining the IndyCar Series field in 2025.

The company behind the championship-winning Corvette Racing program over the last three decades, which also played an integral role in the engineering and performance development for Chevrolet with its title-winning IndyCar program from 2012-2022, revealed its desire to join the IndyCar field in an interview with RACER in 2023. But newfound obstacles placed in its way have led Pratt Miller Motorsports VP Brandon Widmer to table the concept until no sooner than 2026.

“There’s a lot a lot of things happening in the IndyCar Series right now, and it’s still an exciting series for us and we think we can do well there,” Widmer told RACER. “But there’s a few a few things that didn’t come together from a timing perspective. One, the engine availability is a real challenge right now. Grid space availability is a real challenge.


“And we still have some work to do on the partnership side of things as well. It’s still a target of ours; we’re not giving up. But it’s got to be the right program. The right situation is the right timing. And right now, the timing’s not ideal for us for the 2025 season.”

One hurdle that emerged after Pratt Miller began exploring the addition of an IndyCar program is the formation of an IndyCar charter system that would protect 25 full-time IndyCar entries based on their performances during the 2023 season and cap the field size at 27 cars outside of the Indy 500.

As a non-charter team, Pratt Miller would be forced to try and qualify for two available spots on the grid at most races along with two cars from Chip Ganassi Racing and two from the new PREMA Racing outfit. With as many as five cars trying to earn the 26th and 27th places on the grid, the odds of a true open-wheel newcomer like Pratt Miller being able to displace Ganassi and PREMA in qualifying are not in their favor.

Additionally, the order book for full-season engine leases from Chevrolet and Honda is full, which is the other critical limitation that has taken 2025 out of play for Pratt Miller. As Widmer sees it, waiting until 2026 at the earliest to allow IndyCar enough time to work out any kinks with its upcoming charter system isn’t a bad thing.

“Clearly there’s a lot of changes and it’s a pretty dynamic situation with the series right now,” he said. “But as I said, the timing has to be right and maybe with a little more known about how the charter system is actually going to play out and what teams continue to be there, maybe there’ll be some changeover or attrition with the teams that are currently there. And when it looks right, and we have the right program and the right support, we’ll continue to look at it.”

Despite the push to 2026 or later, Widmer has been impressed with the interest that continues to be shown in Pratt Miller making it to IndyCar as an entrant.

“It’s been very positive’ we’ve had unsolicited inquiries from drivers, business partners, people either in this series or like to be in the series from a mechanical engineering and team management perspective,” he said. “The series itself, Jay Frye and his team, have been very welcoming and helping provide information, support, and the manufacturers have been great as well. So overall, very positive experience that way. It’s a great series and great competition.

“Obviously, the lack of engines and grid spots available is a is a good sign in terms of the health of the series. There’s a lot they’re working through in terms of TV deals, and what the future series looks like from a technology standpoint, and the platform itself between the engine program and maybe eventually the chassis. So we’re keeping abreast of all that stuff, keeping an eye on it, like we do with all types of forms of racing. So hopefully, someday we’ll be there.”

For now, Pratt Miller will maintain its focus on supporting the Corvette Z06 GT3.Rs it builds and supports in global sports car racing. Having earned pole position last weekend at Laguna Seca with the works Corvette Racing program, the brand-new model is making big strides, and with a desire to do more in the sport, the lack of immediate opportunities in IndyCar could benefit IMSA and its WeatherTech SportsCar Championship series as a rumored evaluation of an LMP2 program is said to be under way.

“We continue looking at new opportunities,” Widmer said. “Certainly, we could see expansion in the sports car market in different classes, and we’re looking for that type of growth. So with the IndyCar program, being at least delayed at a minimum, it does create additional bandwidth with the company and focus where we would like to be at least one other class in sports car racing.”

Story originally appeared on Racer