JHR ready for the greatest spectacle in racing
Indianapolis, IndianaMay 25, 2023
The biggest race of the NTT INDYCAR season will fire into life on Sunday: the world-famous INDY 500. Callum Ilott and Agustín Canapino are ready to compete for Juncos Hollinger Racing across 200 laps at the iconic Indianapolis Motor Speedway oval.
After two weeks of valuable practice and intense qualifying, both men are set for 500 miles of wheel-to-wheel racing, in front of a crowd that will likely nudge 300,000 INDYCAR fans.
Rookie Agustín claimed a solid P27 starting spot for the race in last weekend’s qualifying session, becoming the first Argentine driver to seal a place on the INDY 500 grid since Raul Riganti in 1940. Agustín’s #78 Dallara-Chevrolet will take its special edition blue and white livery into battle this weekend, in celebration of Argentina’s success at the 2022 World Cup.
A lack of performance during practice prompted JHR to change the chassis of Callum’s car in the hours before qualifying. But it proved to be the right call as the Briton neatly secured a place on the INDY 500 grid with P28.
Did you know?
The Indianapolis Motor Speedway’s ‘Brickyard’ nickname is derived from the fact the oval track surface used to be paved with bricks. But since being resurfaced with asphalt, only a one-yard strip of bricks on the start/finish line remains.
“The goal this year is to hopefully move forward, take home some good points and have a great experience.”
Callum Ilott said:
“So far, our INDY 500 preparations have been a bit difficult, but we managed to make it work. We made a lot of progress in Monday’s session, and we’ve got another two hours of practice, so I’m looking forward to Sunday’s race.
“As a rookie last year, it was amazing to see how many people arrived here, the whole build-up, and the way it worked as a race. It was super impressive. The goal this year is to hopefully move forward, take home some good points and have a great experience.”
“It will be a long race, so I will be patient and calm at the beginning and try to improve the car during the race.”
Agustín Canapino said:
“We are ready for the race on Sunday, but before that, we have our final practice session on Friday. It will be important to finish our setup and strategy for the INDY 500, but I’m pleased to see the car looks good now too.
“It will be a long race, so I will be patient and calm at the beginning and try to improve the car during the race. At the end of Sunday, I hope to finish in a good position and see the checkered flag.”
“To be able to start the race and participate, no matter what the result will be, is a dream come true for everyone that’s working for us and supporting us.”
Ricardo Juncos said:
“We were happy to get both cars into the show after qualifying. To start with two cars at the INDY 500 is amazing. Now, our focus is 100% on Sunday.
“Both drivers have done an excellent job, so I’m looking forward to a great race with the confidence that we’re going to have good race cars, as we showed on Thursday and a little bit on Monday as well.
“I think there’s always huge expectations at the INDY 500, and for us to have one of the cars representing the Argentine colors with its World Cup champions livery, that means a lot. To be able to start the race and participate, no matter what the result will be, is a dream come true for everyone that’s working for us and supporting us.
“Finally, I want to thank all our team members for their great effort in the past two weeks. To be in the show once again with both cars means there has been double the effort compared to last year, and that’s really impressive. The mechanics, engineers, sponsors, drivers, everybody – they’ve all played a massive part. Also, I must give a big thank you to my partner, Brad Hollinger, as he provides support all the time and is always by my side as we face everything and try to be a good INDYCAR team.”
Our INDY 500 history
2017: Our first INDY 500 opportunity with Spencer Pigot and Sebastián Saavedra forming our driver line-up. Sebastián matches his best-ever finish at the track with P15, while Spencer finishes P18.
2018: After winning the 2017 Indy Lights Championship with Juncos Racing, Kyle Kaiser steps up to compete with the team in the INDY 500. The rookie qualifies P17 and finishes P29 with mechanical issues.
2019: Kyle Kaiser makes headlines after spectacularly taking out two-time Formula 1 World Champion Fernando Alonso and the McLaren team on ‘Bump Day’ during qualifying. Kyle finishes the race in P31.
2022: Callum Ilott makes his INDY 500 debut with Juncos Hollinger Racing, having initially joined the team for the final three races of the previous season. The Briton, after qualifying P19, sees the checkered flag in P32.
Steve Barker’s technical insight
What does a car need to do to perform well at the INDY 500?
JHR’s #77 Race Engineer Steve Barker gives his expert insight:
“You need enough downforce on the car to run behind other cars in ‘dirty air’. However, too much downforce makes a car too slow due to aerodynamic drag. So, you need to find a fine balance between the two.
“The car handles differently when driving behind one car, versus heavier traffic. So, the driver can adjust anti roll bars at the front and rear, as well as a weight jacker, to tune the balance for the different conditions during the race. This relates to tyre wear, too.
“During the race, we can adjust wing angles and tyre pressures at pit stops. A driver can feel an adjustment of just 0.5psi in tyre pressure, so it’s vital we set them correctly and make good decisions when we decide to make an adjustment.”
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