This year is a rookie season in IndyCar for both Callum Ilott and his team Juncos Hollinger Racing. Both had run a few races before, but neither had competed in a full schedule of the premiere series before this season.
That made for a steep climb as they learn all the details needed to be competitive, and solidified the team’s decision to expand to two cars.
Many small teams form technical partnerships with other large teams to gain this additional perspective, but JHR has largely stood on its own throughout the year.
A second entry has not yet been announced by the team, but it is considered a near certainty and Ilott has revealed that his expertise will be used to make many of the decisions involved in the expansion, including which driver will be behind the wheel. .
“They Will Confirm” [a second car]but the idea is to drive two cars next year,” Ilott told Motorsportweek.com, virtually confirming the team’s intent.
“Being there from day one, I’m involved in the discussions about what we’re going to do and what the plan is. I am very keen to be part of the team whether it be staff or drivers.
“So yes, I offer my input and thoughts. There are always compromises, but we have to make the team the best.
“I’d rather get the person who benefits everything as a whole. Of course I can learn a few things from an experienced man, but you have to see everything as a whole and get the best situation out of it.
“There are not many drivers faster than me. So ‘good luck’ I say.”
That last joke aside, Ilott is pretty sure having a second car will help get more speed as the two drivers get to enjoy each other every weekend.
Racing in a one-car team has been a major drawback for the young Brit all season, and a second point of reference for both driver and team is almost always handy to have.
Looking back, the 23-year-old former F2 driver feels he would have benefited more from having a teammate in his rookie season than next year.
“I think this year it would have been huge to have an experienced teammate to lead me and the team in some areas,” Ilott continued. “I think at least we did a great job the way we were.
“The advantage next year will be more for the team than for me. Obviously if I can get an experienced man and learn in the areas I haven’t been able to learn that would be great. It would have been interesting.
“For the team, I think it’s great to have something to compare it to because right now it’s asking me ‘what do you think?’ And that’s it.”