The Juncos Hollinger Racing team is looking to build upon its promising return to the NTT IndyCar Series by holding onto rookie driver Callum Ilott. Although nothing has been signed, both sides appear to be headed towards a positive conclusion.
“We are lining everything up to continue with Callum and I think he’s happy with us,” Ricardo Juncos told RACER.
Ilott shares in his co-owner’s enthusiasm for continuing what they’ve started with some impressive outings in the No. 77 Chevy.
“Given the fact that Ricardo and Brad [Hollinger] brought me over here to race in IndyCar, I am very happy to think about remaining with the team,” Ilott said. “I think we’ve done a good job in some areas and there are other areas to improve, and I think I can help shape things in a good direction.”
Those performances have also caught the attention of a few other teams — midfield, mostly — in recent months.
“There has been some interest shown in me, and it’s nice to be recognized,” Ilott said. “But I am grateful to the team and think it’s important to be reliable, and that’s why I’m inclined to stay.”
With mechanical and engineering talent from the former Carlin Racing IndyCar team incorporated into JHR’s existing crew, the team has made waves by starting eighth at Barber Motorsports Park and seventh at the Indianapolis Grand Prix, and also ran well at the Indy 500 until Ilott’s crash.
Despite suggestions of a technical alliance with one of the other Chevy-powered teams, the skills of Ilott combined with the technical info brought from the alliance with Carlin and work of technical director/race engineer Yves Touron have been responsible for the team’s pace.
Based on the promise shown as a one-car team with its blended crew, JHR is known to be aiming higher in the short term. Although Juncos was open to speaking about the team’s interest in keeping Ilott, he was not inclined to discuss JHR’s rumored desire to expand to two full-time cars in 2023.
Despite his reluctance, RACER has learned of an active effort by JHR to identify and recruit future mechanics and engineers within the IndyCar paddock and other major championships to bolster the No. 77 entry and to run a second car.