Carlin expects to add third full-time IndyCar entry for 2019 season
|By David Malsher||Thursday, September 20th 2018, 19:44 GMT|
Carlin Racing is expecting to add an extra fulltime entry in the 2019 IndyCar Series and will also enter two cars in Indy Lights next year.
Carlin explained that the team's progress and IndyCar proving to be popular with drivers has resulted in several racers showing interest in joining the team for 2019.
"IndyCar is going through a bit of a purple patch at the moment," he told Autosport.
"We're having a lot of drivers speak to us about joining. It looks like there'll be a lot of demand for a third car, so we're gearing up accordingly.
"At this stage, I don't know who might be driving it, but we're getting ready to accommodate for that demand for a full-season car and I'd definitely hope by the end of October we'll know who it is.
"Max [Chilton] and Charlie [Kimball] are staying on, or that's the plan at least. We're just in that contract stage of getting everything buttoned up.
"I've asked Chevrolet about an extra engine lease and they say there's no reason why they couldn't cover us for a third car."
Carlin said he would be interested in hiring 2016 Indy Lights champion Ed Jones, who been the subject of speculation that he will replaced at Chip Ganassi Racing by Felix Rosenqvist.
But he also added that the third IndyCar seat might be split between two drivers - for ovals and road courses.
"Yeah, that's definitely an option," he said.
"I've seen how the American model works and although it means the drivers of that third entry aren't fighting for championships, it still helps the team as a whole to have that extra data at each race. You learn faster."
To encourage new Indy Lights entries, IndyCar and [Road to Indy promoter] Andersen Promotions has increased its prize fund and theoretically lowered costs for 2019.
Carlin says these moves were not the prime enticement for returning his squad to the IndyCar feed series, but explained that they did help.
"It doesn't make a huge difference," he said. "But they're moves in the right direction and I think we can save a little bit of money.
"We came over to the States four years ago and in that period of time we have become an IndyCar team thanks to Indy Lights and Ed, Max, Matheus Leist and Zachary Claman De Melo have become IndyCar drivers thanks to our efforts in Indy Lights.
"So I think the Lights series deserves our support to help feed the next generation of drivers. You look at Pato [O'Ward] and Colton [Herta] and what they did in Lights, and Michael Andretti has prepared them and they've stepped up to IndyCar.
"I almost think it's our duty to rejoin Indy Lights and start nurturing young drivers for the future.
"We need less than a week's worth of work to get our Lights cars running with the small spec updates that have been brought in since we were last in the series."