Ferrucci and Foyt hoping for consistency in 2023 IndyCar season

AJ Foyt Racing team president Larry Foyt and newest hire Santino Ferrucci are both hoping the team can have a more consistent IndyCar season in 2023 after various struggles this year.

Santino Ferrucci, Dreyer & Reinbold Racing Chevrolet

Despite his abundant talent, rookie Kyle Kirkwood had several accidents in the Foyt #14 this past season so that in 10 of the 17 races, he was classified 20th or worse, the net result being the entry finished only 24th in the championship.

While Larry Foyt and legendary A.J. Foyt are taking the risk of running another rookie, Lights graduate Benjamin Pedersen as replacement for Dalton Kellett in the #4 car, they have chosen Ferrucci – a driver with 43 IndyCar starts under his belt – to wheel the #14 in 2023.

Ferrucci said that he knew what was expected from him on and off the track and that he took inspiration from how he worked with his first IndyCar team-mate at Dale Coyne Racing, Sebastien Bourdais.

The four-time champion had, said Ferrucci, “helped steer me out of a lot of wrongs and rabbit holes to really set me more in my ways for IndyCar. Yeah, the biggest thing from him was experience in how to lead a team. I carry that just about everywhere I go.

“I'm very happy to bring it to A.J. and Larry's team, see what we can do. It will be nice to have Benjamin as well, a young, fast rookie. Unfortunately I don't think I'm much older than him. It will be nice to have someone like that who wants to continue to be pushed.

“The car has shown speed this year, without a doubt. It's had its moments of brilliance. It's about how to make it consistent. The car also didn't finish a lot of races because he had a rookie in the car. Bringing the team back to consistency.

“Are we going to show up in St. Pete and light the world on fire? Absolutely not. Are we going to start with realistic goals, put the car in the top 10, seeing how consistent we can be? Yeah, without a doubt.

"It's going to be a new team for me. It's going to be completely reorganised by the time we start our winter prep … It's one of those things where we're going to get the most out of this if we stay realistic and we stay consistent.”

Kyle Kirkwood, A.J. Foyt Enterprises Chevrolet

Kyle Kirkwood, A.J. Foyt Enterprises Chevrolet

Photo by: Jake Galstad / Motorsport Images

Ferrucci, the 2019 Indy 500 Rookie of the Year, has now racked up four Top 10 finishes at on Memorial Day Weekend, and says he’s “without a doubt” at the stage of being able to contribute heavily to a team’s setup work for Indianapolis Motor Speedway.

He also admitted that there were times in the last two years of part-time IndyCar racing and part-time NASCAR racing, when he wondered if there was a way back to open-wheel on a full-time basis.

“The last few years, including this year, everything has been on merit for me,” he said. “I had sponsorship my first year I came into IndyCar, a little bit in the second year. After that it's just been really tough with COVID for myself personally. That's kind of why we switched to NASCAR a little bit, because I had to find some partners that preferred that. Also I wanted to try it. There's a reason why you saw me over there.

“For me, being as young as I am, having these part-time rides, subbing for the kids that do get injured unfortunately, is really the only thing that's kept me going.

“We have four top 10s in four races at the 500, which has helped me there. I know that race in particular I will always kind of have a shot. But as far as a full season, yeah, it's definitely hit or miss. Being able to sub last minute, have good results, show a lot of pace, I think has definitely kind of opened the eyes of everybody a little bit to, yeah, I can just get in and wheel the car to the best of my ability.”

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Foyt admitted there was “nothing definitive yet” in terms of new recruits to the engineering or crew line-ups, but said the team would be stacking its test days in 2023 while further development is underway on the cars this winter.

Commercially, the team struggled in 2022, with ROKiT sponsorship and third driver Tatiana Calderon disappearing not long after midseason.

Sexton Properties stepped up to the plate on the #14 car to supplement the Road To Indy scholarship money that Kirkwood had brought as 2021 Indy Lights champion but Foyt said that in ’23, both of the team’s cars will feature “a few different liveries … We won't have the one big sponsor this time.”

He said: “I think last year there were tracks we had speed on and there were tracks we struggled on.

“We're trying to work on those tracks that we struggled. I just think the good thing is Santino is going to get everything out of the car and get us some good finishes, get things rolling back the right direction. I really believe that.

“It's not that we think consistently we're going to be surprising people, but there's no reason that we can't have some really decent top 10s and even a little better.”

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