INDYCAR: Negrao hopes for early graduation

INDYCAR: Negrao hopes for early graduation

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INDYCAR: Negrao hopes for early graduation

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Indy Lights rookie Andre Negrao has his eye on moving up to the Verizon IndyCar Series next year. The Brazilian recorded a second-place finish on Sunday in Road America, and with two seasons of GP2 experience and four in the Formula Renault 3.5 championship already under his belt, the 24-year-old says he’s finding great value in Indy Lights and wants to graduate as quickly as possible.

“The Lights series is very good; it’s hard because I don’t have many good finishes to start the season, but it’s getting better and better,” the Schmidt Peterson Motorsports driver told RACER.

“So of all the formula series, the Dallara chassis is good, we have a turbo engine like Formula 1, we have push-to-pass, it’s difficult and competitive, and I want to stay here and keep racing in IndyCar.”

Schmidt Peterson Motorsports has invited Negrao to listen in to its IndyCar communications this year to get a preview of how James Hinchcliffe and Mikhail Aleshin interact and operate within the series.

“Sam Schmidt gives me the headset to listen [during IndyCar] sessions and this is my target now,” he added. “I don’t want to go anywhere else; I want to go to IndyCar and learn all I can, and it’s really good.”

Like most Indy Lights drivers, Negrao says earning the graduation prize for winning the title would expedite the move to IndyCar, and whether it happens in 2017 or 2018, he appears set on making America his home.

“[Graduating] depends how the championship ends, but if I can test an Indy car at the end of the year, it would be great,” he said. “I’m used to driving fast cars in GP2 and World Series [by Renault], so I’m looking forward to driving in the IndyCar Series and my target is to go next year.

“If I can’t do that, I’ll do one more year in Indy Lights, but this is where I want to stay.”

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