NTT IndyCar Series rookie Callum Ilott isn’t wired to be happy with a 19th-place qualifying performance, but if you consider how the Briton displaced eight drivers in the No. 77 Juncos Hollinger Racing Chevy, there just might be something worthy of appreciation.
“We didn’t get to all the work we had in practice, so we were trying to get the car more comfortable and in the window,” Ilott told RACER. “Overall, maybe we should be closer to the top 12, but we’re on the edge now and I can say that we’re doing a good job from where we began in practice, So I’m happy with that. For sure, there’s always room to improve and that’s why we got these three races to try and build on where we are now.”
Ilott will try to master pit stops, race starts, and all manner of IndyCar-specific procedures during Sunday’s 110-lap race.
“For the race alone, I don’t know what to expect!” he said with a smile. “I think I’m going to learn a lot and understand from my point of view what I have to do. It’s three sessions today and then we race tomorrow…”
The IndyCar paddock has been welcoming to Ilott, and on social media, he’s had plenty of support coming in from Europe.
“I obviously had a great year and a half in F2 and would have loved to carry that momentum for us to the F1 side of things,” said the Ferrari F1 test driver. “But that’s life. So it’s nice to have the reception and the warm welcome here and the fans who are following our progress so far. And hopefully I can respond with some good results for them and the Juncos Hollinger team in the next couple of weeks.”