Carlin cautious on third car plans

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Carlin cautious on third car plans

IndyCar

Carlin cautious on third car plans

Trevor Carlin has focused his efforts to continue as a two-car IndyCar Series team next year. If the Florida-based outfit is capable of adding a third car, the Briton says he would welcome the growth, but only after its existing seats are filled.

Max Chilton, whose father Grahame is a co-owner of the Carlin team, is set to continue in the No. 59 Chevy entry. His 2018 teammate Charlie Kimball, who drove the No. 23 Chevy during Carlin’s IndyCar debut, is more of a question mark at this early stage of the off-season.

“I have a scenario where I’ve got a budget and a partial budget, and I want to run two full-time cars,” Carlin told RACER while declining to name the budgeted drivers in question. “Ideally, having two cars fully committed is what we’re after, and after that stage, adding a third car would be the goal.”

Kimball, who earned six top-10s for Carlin and placed directly behind IndyCar veteran Tony Kanaan in the drivers’ standings, says he will continue working with longtime sponsor Novo Nordisk to determine his plans for 2019. Whether it’s in a full-time capacity with Carlin, or part-time due to budget restrictions, the finer points of his IndyCar program have yet to be written.

“The budget is still being finalized and we’re working on all aspects – on and off track – for our 11th year together, which is rarefied air for a driver and sponsor,” Kimball said.

If Carlin ends up with a vacancy for its second IndyCar seat, he could be challenged to find capable drivers with a complete budget in hand. He could, however, have a number of suitors interested in part-time deals that would be a better fit for a third car.

Kimball, along with some of Carlin’s former Indy Lights drivers, including 2016 champion Ed Jones, and Zachary Claman De Melo who have something close to half-budgets to offer, could be perfect candidates for sharing a third IndyCar program. But based on his stated preference, the second car is meant for a single driver.

“I want two full-time cars,” Carlin reiterated. “And if I’ve got a third car, it could be a shared opportunity, or one driver for the complete season.”

Carlin also confirmed his intention to return to the Indy Lights series after taking the 2018 season off to focus on the team’s rookie IndyCar campaign.

“We’re close on Lights,” he added. “There’s a couple of serious ones I’m talking to already. We’re only going to run two. I think once we get one signed, the other will follow quickly. We really want to do it. We believe in the Indy Lights series.”

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