Andretti Autosport has signed Canadian-born driver Garett Grist to pilot the No. 7 DaVinci Foods entry for the 2013 Cooper Tires USF2000 Championship Powered by Mazda.
Grist, a 17-year-old from Grimsby, Ontario, spent 10 years racing karts before moving onto Formula Ford in Ontario and Quebec, where he set a track record at Canadian Motorsports Park. The Derek Daly Academy driver spent 2012 competing in the F1600 Formula F Series, where he finished fourth in the championship with three podiums and seven top 10 finishes despite missing the final round of the season at Watkins Glen due to the age restriction.
"I am very excited about the opportunity to join Andretti Autosport," Grist said. "They are an amazing team and field winning cars which is important for a rookie in the series. I am also excited to bring DaVinci Foods on board and look forward to working with Andretti Autosport to develop their Mazda Road to Indy Program."
With the addition of Grist's USF2000 entry to Andretti Autosport's full-time stable of three IZOD IndyCar Series entries (Ryan Hunter-Reay, James Hinchcliffe, Marco Andretti), two Firestone Indy Lights entries (Carlos Munoz, Zach Veach) and two Pro Mazda Championship entries (Shelby Blackstock, Matthew Brabham), team owner Michael Andretti will again claim credit to having the only team competing in every step of the Mazda Road to Indy ladder.
"We are proud to say we will again be competing at every level of the development program and are happy to welcome Garett (Grist) to the team," said Andretti's Chief Operating Officer J.F. Thormann. "He will be a great addition to our Mazda Road to Indy program and we look forward to watching his career grow."
In addition to working his way up the racing ladder, Grist was also a 2012 Team Canada Racing Scholarship winner, chosen following an extensive evaluation process by the 2012 selection committee. This honor allowed him to travel to the famous Brands Hatch Circuit (England) this past October to go head-to-head with the best F1600 racers in the world.
In November, Grist competed in the Walter Hayes Trophy event at the Silverstone Circuit (England). He finished eighth out of 115 entrants after earning his quickest time of the day on the last lap.
Outside of the track, Grist devotes much of his racing effort supporting SickKids Hospital in Toronto. Each year he allows the hospital's patients to submit helmet drawings, he then chooses one drawing to be worn during a race. The helmet featuring the winning design is then auctioned off to support the hospital's initiatives.
While testing is currently underway, USF2000 will officially kick off its season at Sebring International Raceway on March 14-15. Between March and October, the series will hold 14 rounds of competition at seven racing circuits across the country, with the season finale being held in conjunction with the IZOD IndyCar Series double-header at Houston's Reliant Park.