Callum Ilott completed a test session at Indianapolis Motor Speedway on Thursday, getting his first taste of an IndyCar ahead of his race debut next weekend at Portland.
Currently a reserve driver for the Alfa Romeo Formula 1 team, Ilott has been in Indianapolis for the last few days getting to know team owner Ricardo Juncos and the rest of the Juncos Hollinger team.
The team will be making its return to IndyCar after being absent for nearly two years, and is relying on the 22-year-old’s measured driving style to get the car fine-tuned before going racing.
Speaking to media during the test session, Ilott explained how he has seen other European drivers come stateside lately and that he would be happy to build a future with Juncos if the opportunity was available.
“The thing that motivated me obviously was looking at IndyCar as a central option,” said Ilott. “Seeing Romain [Grosjean] 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.
“On the other side, look, I’m quite interested in Ricardo [Juncos] and the future that they have because of his ideas and the projects he can put together. He’s very well-trusted. He has a great motivation for the sport, what he’s doing.
“It’s a great team to be with. I’m looking forward to hopefully build on a future with them.”
Ilott also revealed that he didn’t ask too many questions of his compatriots before hopping in the car, saying that he wanted to figure out some of the differences himself.
Some of the drivers that have recently done their first races in stateside are good friends of his, however, and that provided extra motivation for him to give it a try when he was presented with the chance to do so.
“The first time I properly started to pay attention to IndyCar is when Alonso came over for the first Indy 500. That’s when my attention started to come to it.
“I had Felix Rosenqvist, a mate of mine, come over as well. Recently Romain was a very strong candidate to come over, a good example.
“For me recently Christian [Lundgaard] was a big motivation to just say, ‘C’mon, let’s go do it, why not?’
“He’s a good mate of mine from the F2 paddock. He did a mega job and I hopefully want to continue that.”
Christian Lundgaard made his only race start to date on the same Indianapolis road course that Ilott was testing on, and seriously impressed by qualifying on the second row.
Ilott will hope to find similar success in his debut on September 12, even though running the final two races of the season is unlikely to happen on account of previous commitments.
Juncos Hollinger Racing has plans to run a full IndyCar season in 2022, however, and has yet to decide on a driver for next year’s campaign.