By Joey Barnes, Editor-in-Chief
INDIANAPOLIS – Max Chilton has been in the Verizon IndyCar Series for only a short time, but already the rookie has noticed its growing popularity.
In one week, the former Formula 1 driver will pilot the No. 8 Gallagher Chip Ganassi Racing Chevrolet and embark on his first career Indianapolis 500. The 25-year-old has appearances at the famed Monaco Grand Prix, but admitted that he has “enjoyed” the challenge of oval racing.
Following his departure from F1, Chilton raced in Indy Lights, the undercard to the IndyCar Series, to gain a greater understanding of the tour.
During his tenure racing in America, IndyCar has enjoyed a growth in popularity with attendance and television ratings continuing to rise. The Brit has definitely noticed and believes that is just one of the many reasons why there has been more crossover between F1 and IndyCar, along with their respective ladder series.
“IndyCar has definitely taken a turn in the right direction with its following,” Chilton told Motorsports Tribune. “You can tell, it’s the first time sold out here at Indy in 20 years. It’s got better TV coverage than ever. It’s now live in the UK, which it never has been before. So, it’s definitely more attractive to drivers in other series. It now has a path.
“You know, F1 has its road in Europe, or the rest of the World goes towards F1. America hasn’t always had a ladder (series), but now it has in USF2000, Pro Mazda and Indy Lights, then IndyCar.
“People actually think IndyCar is more of a long term future than F1. So, I think people are making the decision that it is the route they want to take and that’s why you see people come over to America.”
Image: Chris Owens/INDYCAR