By Luis Torres, Staff Writer
Callum Ilott will make the full-time move to the NTT IndyCar Series with Juncos Hollinger Racing next season.
It’ll be the No. 77 team’s first dive into the entire calendar after spending a few seasons competing on a partial schedule with multiple drivers. Now the squad’s main focus is on Ilott and continue building a program in the sport.
“We have had a steep learning curve here the last few races to try to put everything together. We have had some real positives and know the things we need to work on,” said Ilott.
“Knowing what Ricardo Juncos and Brad Hollinger have in place for next season and especially over the winter of what we can do in testing, I definitely feel we can put ourselves in a great position to start off the 2022 season strong.
“I look forward to continuing the work that we are doing and heading into the winter to start a new journey over here and I would like to thank the Ferrari Driver Academy for allowing me to take this opportunity.”
The Ferrari Driver Academy driver has spent the past few weeks competing in the series set to conclude this Sunday at Long Beach. With two IndyCar races to his name, Ilott’s Chevrolet made it to the finish last Sunday at Laguna Seca, finishing 22nd.
Co-owner Ricardo Juncos has been impressed with the young British driver’s maturity, speed and “surprisingly good” feedback.
“We were very impressed with his feedback and the physical condition of Callum after Laguna,” said Juncos. “After a long tough race at Laguna, he got out of the car not even showing any signs of fatigue. Considering Laguna was a full green flag race, Callum proved to be in incredible shape.
“We know we are not the fastest car on track and have a lot of developing to do, but Callum pushes himself to get everything out of the car and has shown great speed. Over the past few weeks, Callum has shown us he is the right driver for our full-time run next year, so we are thrilled to have him join our program full time.
“We will be building our program in all areas and will have the time to test and continue our development as a team. I want to thank Callum for committing to our new NTT INDYCAR SERIES program and look forward to our full-time effort as a team next year.”
A few days before Ilott’s debut at Portland, where electrical issues defined his race, continuity was key for Brad Hollinger. Especially at the time when the deal with Ilott was just Portland before ultimately ending up running the entire West Coast Swing.
“It was huge for us,” said Hollinger at Portland. “It establishes a baseline and really build from there. That equip us to jump into next year with the knowledge we need to really be competitive.”
Like Juncos, Hollinger was impressed of Ilott’s drive at Laguna Seca.
“Callum has maturity beyond his age and has a very enthusiastic personality. We knew we had the driver we wanted for the 2022 campaign after his strong performance during the Laguna event,” said Hollinger.
“During the later stages as his lap times were consistently equal to the ninth and 10th (place) car paces. I am elated that Callum has chosen Juncos Hollinger Racing to continue his racing career.”
WRITER’S NOTE: Hear my interview with Ilott hours after the announcement was made.