Race reviewindycar_R17_Sep.10.2023Firestone Grand Prix of Monterey
A spectacular venue for the final race of the season, WeatherTech Raceway Laguna Seca features 91 meters of elevation change and 11 challenging turns. The famous ‘Corkscrew’ is totally unique in US motorsports and adds to the excitement.
Race start: 15.00 ET.
Monterey, CaliforniaSeptember 10, 2023
Juncos Hollinger Racing closed its 2023 NTT INDYCAR season in spectacular style at WeatherTech Raceway Laguna Seca this afternoon. Callum Ilott equalled the team’s best-ever finish in the category with P5, while Agustín Canapino claimed P14 in the Firestone Grand Prix of Monterey.
An engine-related penalty for Agustín meant he started today’s season finale six positions behind his P13 qualifying result. He therefore lined up on the grid alongside his team-mate on row 10. However, a superb showing in the morning’s warm-up – with Agustín third quickest and Callum eighth – confirmed both men would have strong pace for the race.
Firestone’s alternate tire helped Agustín to his career-best INDYCAR qualifying result yesterday, but he and Callum opted to start today’s road course race on primary rubber.
Both men made clever manoeuvres to avoid an early pile-up at the Andretti Hairpin and moved up 16 positions collectively on lap one. Agustín advanced into P10, while Callum was unable to hold onto P13 as he made an early visit to the pit road. The Briton used that stop to switch onto the alternate tire.
JHR’s drivers were determined to show the ‘Power of Possibility’ for the final time in 2023, and they both impressively ran inside the top-10 for most of the race – despite the interruption of eight caution periods across the afternoon.
Laguna Seca’s tricky 11-turn layout posed one of the toughest physical battles of the season, but Callum and Agustín looked invigorated by their strong Chevrolet pace. Their highest positions in today’s 212-mile battle were P3 and P2 respectively.
Callum made six pit stops throughout the race while Agustín made only two. But both successfully completed the 95-lap race distance to successfully fulfil the team’s 2023 mission: to finish within the Leaders Circle (the top-22 championship positions for full-season entries).
Following the 17th and final round of the NTT INDYCAR season, Callum claimed P16 in the drivers’ championship with 266 points. Impressive rookie Agustín collected 180 points in his first year of open-wheel racing to take P21.
“We claimed P5 in the first race of the season, and now we have achieved the same in the final round.”
Callum Ilott said:
“It was a crazy race today. We claimed P5 in the first race of the season, and now we have achieved the same in the final round. We’ll take the points, and even though it could have been a bit more, I’m still pleased with the result. Thank you to everyone in the team for their huge efforts this year.”
“I’m really happy that we finished my first season in INDYCAR within the Leaders Circle.”
Agustín Canapino said:
“We’ve had a really strong weekend at Laguna Seca. We did a really good job in qualifying, finishing in P13. Although we started in P19 after the penalty, we were soon battling at the front and I was battling for the lead with [Alex] Palou at the end of the second stint.
“It was unfortunate that my front wing was broken close to the end because we were in a really good position to earn a top-five, maybe a podium. But we showed really strong pace today and I would like to thank everybody in the team for their hard work. I’m really happy that we finished my first season in INDYCAR within the Leaders Circle.”
“Now that we have finished the last INDYCAR race of 2023 at Laguna Seca, I’m very happy with the team.”
Ricardo Juncos said:
“Now that we have finished the last INDYCAR race of 2023 at Laguna Seca, I’m very happy with the team. I think we finished on a high note with Callum’s P5 result, and it was a great race from him to move forward from the back.
“Agustín was also fighting for a podium throughout the race. We are very happy with his finish within the Leaders Circle.
“It has been a great effort from the whole team this weekend and you can see our improvements in the last four or five races. We are getting better and better, so I’m really looking forward to 2024. I’d also like to say thank you to the fans of Juncos Hollinger Racing for their amazing support this season.”
Juncos Hollinger Racing rounded off its 2023 INDY NXT campaign in style today as Matthew Brabham claimed P4 in the second race of the weekend at WeatherTech Raceway Laguna Seca.
The Australian-American, who started P7, came into the race buoyed by his P5 performance in yesterday’s opening encounter under clear Californian skies.
Although he lost ground on the opening lap, Matthew retook P7 with a neat move inside Jacob Abel at Turn 11. He then gained another couple of slots when Kyffin Simpson and Reece Gold tangled – initiating a brief caution period.
The focus then switched to hunting down a podium place, with Matthew first claiming P4 and then getting to within a second of Louis Foster who just held onto his P3 as the 35-lap race came to an end.
The final race of the season also returned a P13 finish for Matthew’s JHR team-mate, Victor Franzoni.
The Brazilian was always going to find it a challenge to replicate his impressive P6 finish in yesterday’s race after a brake issue in qualifying bumped him down to P18 on today’s grid.
But he fought hard to move up the order and claim another positive result for his #75 Jennil Salazar-supported car.
“I think P13 was a good result overall and it’s been great to finish another race with all the amazing people in the team behind me.”
Victor Franzoni said:
“I think we had a good result today, considering we had to start from the back after our Quali 2 issues yesterday.
“We made some changes to the car for this race and it was feeling even better than before, but it’s very hard to pass at this track when you’re fighting from the rear. I think we were quick and had a lot of speed in the end but we were limited with what we could do.
“I think P13 was a good result overall and it’s been great to finish another race with all the amazing people in the team behind me. Thanks to them all!”
“Big thanks to Ricardo and the team for having me and giving me the opportunity to be part of something so enjoyable this season.”
Matthew Brabham said:
“P4 is another great result! I was pushing so hard to get on the podium because it would have been amazing to claim some hardware and Champagne for the guys at Juncos Hollinger.
“They’ve all been doing a great job with the car, constantly improving things to give me a package that’s good enough to be fighting for the podium.
“Big thanks to Ricardo and the team for having me and giving me the opportunity to be part of something so enjoyable this season. I definitely think JHR has some great momentum heading into 2024.”