Now, one of the most famous names in racing history, former IndyCar champion Michael Andretti, is looking to capitalize on the moment by taking a blank check company public.
The Andretti name is legendary in the world of auto racing. Michael’s father, Mario, was both an IndyCar champ in America and a Formula 1 winner. Michael’s son Marco now races as well and several other members of the Andretti family have been successful drivers.
Brown said that Andretti Acquisition is looking at deals throughout the automotive landscape, including electric vehicles and autonomous cars.
“There are a lot of emerging companies and established companies that could benefit from the Andretti brand,” Brown said, adding that the SPAC is looking to do a deal in the $1 billion to $2 billion range.
Like many SPACs, Andretti is hoping to bring on other investors through a so-called private investment in public equity, or PIPE, transaction. RBC is advising Andretti Acquisitions as the SPAC’s underwriter.
But Andretti said that even though there were rumors last year that Andretti Autosport wants to buy a Formula 1 team, investors shouldn’t expect the SPAC to make any direct investments in the world’s top racing circuit — despite the Netflix boost that F1 has gotten.
“There has been a lot of speculation about how I’ve been looking to get involved in Formula 1, but we’re not going to do it through the SPAC, which is independent of Andretti Autosport.” he said. “But Netflix has done wonders for Formula 1 and that’s good for all of racing.”
Andretti did say that his SPAC would consider acquisitions of companies with ties to the electric auto racing business.
Andretti Autosport already has a team that competes in the Formula E series for electric race cars. And Zak Brown, CEO of the McLaren Racing team that has top drivers on the Formula 1 circuit, is now a board member of Andretti Acquisition.
“Our team has a lot of experience in the all electric Formula E series,” Andretti said. “So if companies we’re looking to buy are in that space, we have a lot to bring to the party.”
So how did a construction materials executive get involved in auto racing?
As it turns out, he’s known Michael Andretti and the rest of the family for most his life. They were next door neighbors growing up in Nazareth, Pennsylvania. US Concrete was even a sponsor of Marco Andretti’s Indy car.
“Michael and I have known each other forever,” Sandbrook said, joking that Andretti didn’t need to hire a headhunter or go on LinkedIn to find a CEO for his SPAC.