After declaring his interest to field a Verizon IndyCar Series program next season, DragonSpeed team owner Elton Julian says he’s been leaning on IndyCar competition president Jay Frye to open doors and help advance the initiative.
“I don’t have a lot to share right now, but I have been in steady contact with Jay and he’s been super supportive with everything I’ve asked,” Julian told RACER. “I’ve asked him to make some formal introductions on the engine supply side because that’s going to be the best way to go forward in this process.”
Julian’s DragonSpeed outfit was in action Aug. 18-19 at Silverstone with entries in LMP1 with the FIA World Endurance Championship and LMP2 in the European Le Mans Series. Ben Hanley, his preferred driver for an IndyCar effort, led the team to a runner-up finish in the ELMS round and has also been a topic of conversation with Frye.
In light of IndyCar’s new driver licensing guidelines that will be introduced for 2019, an open-wheel and sports car veteran like the 33-year-old Hanley might not tick all the necessary boxes for automatic entry. Hanley’s speed and reputation, however, could make it easy for IndyCar’s competition department to treat the Briton as an exception.
“Ben’s our guy, and they’d see very quickly in a test that he’s the real deal,” Julian added. “I’m fully confident in that. It’s another thing we’ve discussed [with IndyCar], and those discussions will remain between us. For now, getting things moving with an engine is the place we are at. Everything else comes behind it.”