Marcus Ericsson

Marcus Ericsson was back in St. Petersburg, Florida, on Feb. 15 as the defending winner of the Firestone Grand Prix of St. Petersburg presented by RP Funding, but he had a slightly different look since he won the race last March.

Ericsson joined Andretti Global this season after four years at Chip Ganassi Racing, which included his St. Petersburg victory to start the 2023 season and a win in the 2022 Indianapolis 500 presented by Gainbridge.

“It’s a big challenge for me to go from Chip Ganassi Racing to Andretti Global, an exciting challenge,” Ericsson said. “Andretti is a legendary team. To drive for the Andretti family is definitely very special.

“We are very excited about our upcoming season. We have worked very hard in the offseason, had pretty good testing and feel like we’ve made very good progress. It’s going to be exciting to come here to St. Pete for my first race with Andretti, and, of course, we’re aiming to go back to back and defend that win from last year.”

Ericsson joined a host of dignitaries, including St. Petersburg Mayor Ken Welch, at the annual event on Dan Wheldon Way in St. Petersburg that ceremonially starts the construction of the 1.8-mile, 14-turn temporary circuit that includes the streets of St. Petersburg and a runway at Albert Whitted Airport. Crews will begin building the circuit Monday, Feb. 19 for the season-opening event Sunday, March 10.

“It’s good to be back in St. Petersburg,” Ericsson said. “To be back as defending winner is very special. It’s an amazing event. It’s such a highlight of our calendar. It’s more than just a race – the whole city comes alive.”

Track construction will take 18 days. Approximately 300 workers will move 18,000 feet of steel-reinforced concrete block to create barriers around the circuit, with nearly 2,000 blocks placed into position. More than 12,000 tires will be used to create the track’s tire wall safety system, and 25,000 feet of chain-link spectator fencing and 18,000 feet of panel fencing also will be placed around the circuit.

Other tasks include construction of five bridges, including four pedestrian bridges into the infield, multiple grandstands and five paddock areas for race teams.

INDYCAR’s development series, INDY NXT by Firestone, also will open its 2024 season at this event.

Visit for more information or to buy tickets.