For Colton Herta, his second full-time campaign in the NTT IndyCar Series was a success with a third-place points finish, highlighted by a victory at Mid-Ohio.
The Andretti Autosport driver recently spoke with POPULAR SPEED about the success, and outlook towards 2021.
POPULAR SPEED: What are your thoughts going into next year, as you change it up a little with it recently being announced you’ll carry the Gainbridge colors?
COLTON HERTA: I think we ended last year on a high and we made gains in a lot of places, and got the best championship points finish for me. I think we just need to be a little bit better. I’d love to make a run at the championship with Gainbridge and the support that they’ve put into this program.
PS: You mentioned wanting to get stronger. What do you and the team need to focus on?
COLTON: I think we lacked a little bit of speed in the car at the beginning of the year, and kind of made up for it with quick pit stops and strategy. So it’s about being on top of it at the beginning. It’d help to have a complete schedule; I’d definitely enjoy it more, which is looking somewhat like it’ll happen from what I’m hearing. So it’s just working on the small things and primarily just getting a little bit more in each area.
PS: In looking at the schedule, what track are you most looking forward to?
COLTON: I’m hoping we can race at Long Beach. It’s a bit of home race for me as I grew up a half hour north of Long Beach. Growing up going to that race, it was hard to not race there last year so I’m hoping we can this year as that’d be huge for me, personally.
PS: Being a young driver, what is it like having your teammates to lean on for support?
COLTON: It’s huge. Obviously, they have a lot of experience, primarily Ryan Hunter-Reay and Marco (Andretti) have quite a bit of experience, and then (Alexander) Rossi has been here quite awhile now and has a ton of experience. Being able to talk with them and understand what changes will do to the car and go from there, it helps a lot. Ryan and I have similar set-ups because we drive very similar, so it helps a lot working together as a team and he’s a very good driver in own right in setting up a car.
PS: If you could grade last season, what would you give the team and yourself?
COLTON: I’d probably give it a B. I think there were some points that I made some mistakes, but for the most part, we were there where we needed to be; we just didn’t execute every single time. But to go for a championship, we need to be executing week-in-week-out.
PS: Ovals, road courses, or street courses – what do you prefer?
COLTON: I enjoy running the street courses the most. I think they’re the most technical and the most difficult to put together a lap together on, so I enjoy qualifying the most on those tracks. Right against the wall, trying to get every bit – that’s the biggest rush.
PS: We’ve seen a lot of your career focused on IndyCar, but is there something else that you’d love to get behind the wheel of one day?
COLTON: The biggest thing is I’d love test a Formula 1 car, and see how they compare to an IndyCar. I mean, who knows if I’ll get a shot if I’ll get a chance to test, but I’d love to at least test a car.
PS: With your family history embedded into the sport, do you feel any extra pressure, or is that something you just ignore?
COLTON: I think it’s pretty easy for me to ignore at this point. I grew up with it and kind of learned to not dwell on it, so it’s not a big deal for me.
PS: For somebody trying to get to IndyCar one day, what is one piece of advice you’d offer them based on your journey to get to here?
COLTON: I think just always stay motivated. I think it’s easy to become unmotivated or unfocused if you’re having a bad race weekend. I think the biggest thing is always believing in yourself that you can do it and it doesn’t matter what others think about you, or how they think about your driving. If you actually believe you do it, your mind will be a lot better than others that age.