Ilott considers IndyCar a “central option” for the future

Alfa Romeo Formula 1 reserve driver Callum Ilott says that racing an IndyCar in Portland next week could be the first step toward a full-time ride in the series.

Ilott considers IndyCar a “central option” for the future

The 2020 Formula 2 championship runner-up will make his US open-wheel debut with the newly renamed Juncos Hollinger squad, Ricardo Juncos's team revealing a tie-up with new partner Brad Hollinger last month as it returns for the final three races of 2021 for the first time since the 2019 Indianapolis 500.

Ilott has spent this season racing Ferrari GT cars, finishing third in the GTE Am class on his Le Mans 24 Hours debut last month with Iron Lynx.

Speaking during the lunch break after his first test on the Indianapolis Motor Speedway road course, Ilott said that returning to competition in an open-wheel car was a strong factor behind his exploratory outing at Portland, and said F1-convert Romain Grosjean's strong form after making the switch with Dale Coyne Racing had encouraged him to consider his long-term prospects.

“I can't say no to competition, for sure,” he said.

“The thing that motivated me obviously was looking at IndyCar as a central option. Seeing Romain go over here, it's definitely a great opportunity, a great thing to do.

“For me, I've been recommended this series for a long time, because of my style, because of the way I approach things. It seems a lot of people think it's perfect for me, so I'm here to give it a go.”

Ilott explained that he was impressed by the plans that the “very well-trusted” 2015 and 2017 Indy Lights-winning team boss Juncos had shown him.

“I'm quite interested in Ricardo and the future that they have because of his ideas and the projects he can put together,” he said.

Callum Ilott, Juncos Racing tests the Juncos Hollinger-Chevrolet IndyCar

Callum Ilott, Juncos Racing tests the Juncos Hollinger-Chevrolet IndyCar

Photo by: James Black

“He has a great motivation for the sport, it's a great team to be with. I'm looking forward to kind of hopefully build on a future with them.

“I'm enjoying it a lot here. It's attracting me more and more to do this in the future.”

Asked about the prospect of going oval racing, 22-year-old said that he was “definitely not against it” and said he was “in good hands with Ricardo to teach me – to get me ready, basically – if I have to do that”.

Ilott added that F2 racer Christian Lundgaard's impressive recent cameo with Rahal Letterman Lanigan at IMS, the Dane qualifying fourth before slipping back in the race, meant he would inevitably face certain expectations but he said he isn't interested in what anybody else thinks.

“We've got to work and have realistic goals, he said.

“Obviously people can have expectations of me, but they know where I stand after last year with Christian in Formula 2. They know my speed.

“At the end of the day, we will work as we should. We've got to be focused and get what we can. Portland is a small track, but it doesn't look easy. It's tough, very tight.

“I'm focused and I don't care what people's expectations of me are. People know how fast I can be. Once we get it right, whether it's in Portland or afterwards, we'll see.”

Juncos praised his newest recruit’s quick adaption to the car after some early electronics issues and his ability to recall information.

“Everything we tell him once, he remembers, he does it without telling him,” he said.

shares
comments

Related video

Kimball to race third Foyt car in Long Beach finale

Previous article

Kimball to race third Foyt car in Long Beach finale

Next article

IndyCar to reassess driver probation rules in off-season

IndyCar to reassess driver probation rules in off-season
Load comments
Have Harvey and RLL formed IndyCar’s next winning match-up? Plus

Have Harvey and RLL formed IndyCar’s next winning match-up?

Despite appearing to have an IndyCar job for life with Meyer Shank Racing, Jack Harvey’s departure and move to Rahal Letterman Lanigan Racing sparked plenty of debate. However, Harvey's and RLL's combined strengths could prove to be a winning combination - if they get the balance right

IndyCar
Oct 17, 2021
Remembering Dan Wheldon and his last and most amazing IndyCar win Plus

Remembering Dan Wheldon and his last and most amazing IndyCar win

Saturday 16 October marks the 10th anniversary of Dan Wheldon’s death. David Malsher-Lopez pays tribute, then asks Wheldon’s race engineer from 2011, Todd Malloy, to recall that magical second victory at the Indianapolis 500

IndyCar
Oct 16, 2021
Why Kyle Kirkwood is America's new IndyCar ace-in-waiting Plus

Why Kyle Kirkwood is America's new IndyCar ace-in-waiting

Kyle Kirkwood, the record-setting junior formula driver, sealed the Indy Lights championship last weekend. But despite an absurdly strong junior career and scholarship money, his next move is far from clear

IndyCar
Oct 6, 2021
Why IndyCar title glory is just the start for Ganassi's new star Plus

Why IndyCar title glory is just the start for Ganassi's new star

Newly-crowned IndyCar champion Alex Palou has been lauded as a complete driver and veteran-like in only his second season. The 24-year-old is still in the early days of his career, but the parallels are there for all to see with his six-time champion Chip Ganassi Racing team-mate who has been CGR's team leader since 2014

IndyCar
Sep 28, 2021
Why Grosjean's oval commitment shows he's serious about IndyCar Plus

Why Grosjean's oval commitment shows he's serious about IndyCar

One of motorsport’s worst-kept secrets is now out in the open, and Romain Grosjean has been confirmed as an Andretti Autosport IndyCar driver in 2022. It marks a remarkable turnaround after the abrupt end to his Formula 1 career, and is a firm indication of his commitment to challenge for the IndyCar Series title  

IndyCar
Sep 24, 2021
Why IndyCar’s longest silly-season is still far from over Plus

Why IndyCar’s longest silly-season is still far from over

OPINION: The 2021 IndyCar silly season has been one of the silliest for many years, as many talented drivers remain in play – with new pieces to the puzzle being added all the time. Here's what we know so far about who will end up where in 2022

IndyCar
Sep 15, 2021
Why IndyCar's generational shift isn't as stark as it appears Plus

Why IndyCar's generational shift isn't as stark as it appears

OPINION: The rise of two drivers racing only their second full-season IndyCar campaigns to head the points with four races to go has led to some observers doubting the credentials of the old guard. But they haven't faded away, there's merely a deeper talent pool that is helping to make this season one of the best in recent years

IndyCar
Aug 20, 2021
The F1 champion who became an Indy king in his second career Plus

The F1 champion who became an Indy king in his second career

Emerson Fittipaldi’s decision to go racing with his brother led to him falling out of F1, but he bloomed again on the IndyCar scene. NIGEL ROEBUCK considers a career of two halves

Formula 1
Jul 31, 2021