In this new feature, More Front Wing is proud to profile the individuals who work behind the scenes to keep the IZOD IndyCar Series on track. Our first subject is Mike McClelland, Creative Director at Andretti Autosport.
Name: Mike McClelland
Team: Andretti Autosport
Position: Creative Director
Weekday duties: Graphic design and production.
Race weekend duties: Since I don’t travel with the team, my biggest concern is getting in front of a TV.
Total years in racing: 10
Years with current team: 6
Previous teams you’ve worked with: I previously worked for SquareOne Design where we did the graphics for various IndyCar and Champ Car teams such as Team Kool Green, Della Penna Motorsports, Blair Racing, Heritage Motorsports, and Beck Motorsports. We also worked with a number of NHRA teams.
How you got started in racing: A good friend of mine got me in the door at SquareOne, which gave me a great opportunity to learn motorsports design. The Owner/Senior Designer, Doug Sholty, was very talented and quite the perfectionist. After gaining a few years of experience under him, I was offered another great opportunity by Kim Green in 2004, which was to start up a new in-house graphics department at Andretti Green Racing.
Favorite part of job: Getting to see my work on TV and in the media always gives me a professional sense of accomplishment, but ultimately my favorite part is standing on the grid before the start of the Indianapolis 500. I helped out Team IZOD in the pits and got to see my work on track during the most famous race in the world.
Most difficult part of job: The last couple of months before the season starts. That’s when I’m busiest, working with our sales team and sponsors to finalize the various team designs and logo placements on everything from the cars and pit equipment to the driver and crew uniforms. With four completely different (full time) IZOD IndyCar Series entries, two Firestone Indy Lights entries, and two USF2000 entries to outfit, it gets pretty stressful.
Career highlight in racing: My favorite team highlight is when we won the inaugural Honda Grand Prix of St. Petersburg and finished 1-2-3-4. It was also an event that we promoted, so it was extra sweet! My favorite personal highlight was designing Marco Andretti’s Indiana Jones car and firesuit for the 2008 Indianapolis 500. I realize a lot of people (including Marco) thought that suit was pretty ugly, but it was a lot of fun to step out of the box and create something unique. From a marketing standpoint, it was beautiful.
Favorite way to spend an off-weekend: I really enjoy taking my son backpacking/camping.