Callum Ilott’s audition for Juncos Hollinger Racing has gone well enough for the 22-year-old Briton to earn the team’s confidence and a contract to remain in the No. 77 Chevy as its full-time driver in 2022.
The Alfa Romeo Formula 1 reserve driver and Ferrari F1 test driver will lead the team owned by Ricardo Juncos and Brad Hollinger, which is actively seeking more high-caliber team members to support Ilott’s rookie campaign in NTT IndyCar Series.
In two races with JHR at Portland and WeatherTech Raceway Laguna Seca, Ilott’s shown considerable promise while learning the car, tracks, and intricacies of American open-wheel racing. He’ll complete the initial three-race stint with JHR this weekend in Long Beach and then move onto preparing for the 17-round IndyCar calendar that starts in February.
“Coming into the final weekend of our three-race run on the West Coast, it’s great to announce that I will be continuing next year with Juncos Hollinger Racing for the 2022 season,” Ilott said. “Obviously, we have had a steep learning curve here the last few races to try to put everything together. We have had some real positives and know the things we need to work on. Knowing what Ricardo Juncos and Brad Hollinger have in place for next season and especially over the winter of what we can do in testing, I definitely feel we can put ourselves in a great position to start off the 2022 season strong. I look forward to continuing the work that we are doing and heading into the winter to start a new journey over here, and I would like to thank the Ferrari Driver Academy for allowing me to take this opportunity.”
Ilott comes to JHR on the heels of a runner-up performance in the 2020 F2 championship where he took three wins while placing behind Haas F1’s Mick Schumacher and ahead of Alpha Tauri’s Yuki Tsunoda in the standings. Lacking opportunities to race in F1, the door to IndyCar opened for Ilott with an outreach from Juncos in August. The invitation to stay was made after another promising effort on Sunday where Ilott and the No. 77 rose as high as 19th in the 27-car field while the team, which last competed in IndyCar in 2019, works itself up to speed.
“We are very pleased to announce Callum to the team full time,” team owner Ricardo Juncos said. “His maturity, speed on track, and feedback is absolutely amazing for being only 22 years old. We were very impressed with his feedback and the physical condition of Callum after Laguna. After a long, tough race at Laguna, he got out of the car not even showing any signs of fatigue. Considering Laguna was a full green flag race, Callum proved to be in incredible shape.
“We know we are not the fastest car on track and have a lot of development to do, but Callum pushes himself to get everything out of the car and has shown great speed. Over the past few weeks Callum has shown us he is the right driver for our full-time run next year, so we are thrilled to have him join our program full-time. We will be building our program in all areas and will have the time to test to continue our development as a team.
RACER has also learned that if enough sponsorship and the right mechanical and engineering staff can be acquired, JHR is also interested in fielding a second entry next season with a veteran IndyCar driver to guide and mentor Ilott through his introduction to oval racing and the numerous venues he’ll visit for the first time.