Factory Mazda DPi driver Harry Tincknell isn’t sure what he’ll be doing after the Japanese manufacturer shutters its IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship program in November. As a result, the Briton, a two-time class winner at the 24 Hours of Le Mans and one of the fastest drivers in the DPi category, is wondering whether a return to his open-wheel roots might be possible with a look towards the NTT IndyCar Series.
Prior to his switch to sports cars in 2014, Tincknell focused all his energies on trying to reach Formula 1. Six years spent working up the European open-wheel ladder, culminating in race-winning runs with Carlin Racing in British F3 and European F3, helped Tincknell to make an easy transition to prototypes where he won at debut at Le Mans in LMP2. Factory roles followed at Nissan, Ford, Aston Martin, and Mazda, which have relied upon his racing and chassis development skills as their respective programs have come and gone.
The idea of coming back to open-wheel and putting all those miles and all he’s learned to use in IndyCar as he waits for the new LMDh prototype formula to launch in 2023 has certainly crossed the 29-year-old’s mind.
“In the past, there’s been talks about doing a test here or there, but it never quite worked out, so with a lot of things up in the air for me next year, I would be keen to showcase what I could do in IndyCar,” he told RACER. “We (IMSA) have a couple of races that we share with IndyCar every year, and I love being going down and seeing friends who are racing there. Clearly it’s an amazing series. I think those cars are just awesome.
“And I do feel like they would suit my driving style in terms of you just need to be ultra-aggressive, and just send it. For anyone who’s seen me at the end of races, that’s my philosophy. I’m the guy who cuts through the traffic try to take the win. I love racing in North America, and if I could develop something in IndyCar, I would grab any opportunity like that with both hands.”
As part of the Ford Chip Ganassi Racing program, Tincknell worked alongside IndyCar champions Scott Dixon and Tony Kanaan, and Champ Car champion Sebastien Bourdais. Ryan Hunter-Reay is another IndyCar champion who worked with Tincknell at Mazda, and altogether, there was nothing separating them on the stopwatch.
“Within the Ford GT program, I had Scott, Tony, and Sebastien as teammates, and obviously Ryan Hunter-Reay was also my teammate when we won the 12 Hours of Sebring last year, and it’s been awesome racing with or against those guys when they come over to sports cars,” he said. “We’re always comparing ourselves when the star IndyCar drivers jump into our world, so I feel like it would be awesome if I could jump into their world and see how I’d work out.
“In particular, talking to Scott was insane because he’s just the most down-to-earth guy who gave me a lot of advice. He certainly gave me some inspiration on how you need to be within a team, the right work ethic to succeed, and a lot of things he uses to be so successful. It really makes me want to jump at IndyCar, and I’d be 110-percent prepared and committed to showing what I can do for a team there.”