IndyCar field could grow in 2019 with interest from Harding Racing, Rahal Letterman Lanigan Racing, and DragonSpeed Racing
In Tuesday’s announcement that Conor Daly will replace Gabby Chaves for Toronto, Harding Racing revealed their intentions to become a two-car operation. However, they are not the only team looking to increase the series’ field size in 2019.
Harding Racing team president Brian Barnhart confirmed in a team statement that the decision to put Daly in the car for Toronto was to determine a second driver for 2019, saying “If we can expand to a two-car team, all remaining races and testing will offer driver evaluation opportunities to determine who will become Gabby’s teammate in 2019.”
Soon after, it was confirmed that Rahal Letterman Lanigan Racing is pursuing a move to a three-car operation in the future. Having already added Takuma Sato to their new second car for 2018, the team’s successes have opened the door for further growth.
“There’s a couple of good opportunities out there,” owner Bobby Rahal told RACER, “so I’m much more sure of us having a three-car program next year than I’ve ever been.”
As Graham Rahal is the only driver committed to the team beyond the 2018 season, RLL is looking to prime young talent in the Indy Lights series to make the move into the Verizon IndyCar Series.
Aside from current IndyCar teams looking to expand, there is also interest from teams elsewhere in motorsports looking to make the move to the series. At the introduction of the series’ new aero kit, one of the goals was to make the series more affordable and attractive for new teams.
DragonSpeed Racing of the FIA World Endurance Championship is the first to show interest since the successes of the 2018 season, citing the series’ competition level and prestige.
“It’s a step up, and I do consider it a step up from LMP1,” team owner Elton Julian told RACER.com. “I want my team to continue to grow, and IndyCar has a lot of attractive things going for it.”
The rumoured additions come after a year where two of the series' top teams, Team Penske and Chip Ganassi Racing, reduced their respectice car counts.