This May, IndyCar star Colton Herta gave father and fellow IndyCar race winner Bryan Herta one of the greatest gifts in history: the very same Reynard racer that the elder Herta drove in a CART race win at Laguna Seca 25 years ago.
That car is not only now up and running, it is at the track at Laguna Seca this weekend in a race where Herta is running a livery tribute to his father. Before the race weekend's proceedings actually started, both Hertas got some time to run the 1998 car on track on Wednesday.
A video captured by RACER's Marshall Pruett, who also helped put together the original surprise, shows the younger Herta's four flying laps in the car. It is an era removed from the Dallara IndyCar Herta will race on Sunday, with 870 horsepower from a screaming Cosworth V-8 and a gearbox controlled by an actual stick below the wheel. Colton Herta, who is younger than the car, does not seem to be phased.
Herta gets up to speed immediately when exiting the pit lane, then embarks on four flying laps. He adapts quickly and looks surprisingly comfortable at speed in an unfamiliar car. Pruett reports that he reached the "1 minute, 12-second range" in just four laps, about a second and a half off the fastest lap set during the 1998 race.
The Hertas have won twice each at Laguna Seca, but Colton Herta has not won an IndyCar race since he was passed over for a Formula 1 ride due to a licensing rule. Not only does he have a good chance to change that Sunday, he has a chance to do it in a car wearing the same colors as this very Reynard.