HMD Motorsports will grow its sizable Indy Lights team with the addition of another Dallara IL15-AER entry when the next championship run gets under way.
With four cars currently under the HMD banner, including runaway points leader Linus Lundqvist, and a fifth for Benjamin Pedersen entered as Global Racing Group with HMD, the team owned by Henry Malukas and led by Mike Maurini is preparing to field an even half-dozen in 2023.
“We’ll be expanding to six cars,” Maurini said. “We already have this car in possession now. The whole entire series will be growing, as by my count, I think we’re gonna be 18 or 19 cars, which is awesome. So yeah, 33 percent of the cars are HMD cars. That’s cool; there’s an opportunity there. Henry’s always taught me that when there’s an opportunity, take it, because you never know when the opportunities will arise again. So we’ve been working together and pushing forward on this; we’re exploring some new shop space, we’re looking at trucks and trailers. It’s going well.”
Maurini cites the influence of series owner Penske Entertainment as the biggest influence on the lengthening entry list.
“Penske Entertainment, taking over the Indy Lights series, just being associated with the Penske name is something that most people in motorsports look forward to,” he said. “So to be able to talk to Roger and his staff, provide some ideas for the future, but also listen to their plans for the future. Everything is going in the right direction.
“Prize money is a big thing. Now it’s up to $20,000 to win, $15,000 for second, $10,000 for third. I know we’re spending $100,000 to maybe win $20,000, but it’s better than spending $100,000 and winning nothing.
“Last year, the phone didn’t start ringing [from interested drivers for 2022] until we left St. Louis [in] the middle of August. This year, the phone started ringing at the beginning of June for 2023. So we are we’re two months earlier this year. The interest level, the anticipation that people that want to get deals done earlier, I would say this year is more than it’s ever been more than I’ve ever been involved.”
HMD Motorsports is also in the first year of a co-entry partnership with the Dale Coyne Racing NTT IndyCar Series team, with David Malukas piloting the No. 18 Honda. If their plans fall into place, HMD could expand to two cars under the DCR tent, and if all goes well in the coming years, HMD just might become a standalone IndyCar team.
“Henry’s dream is to always be involved in IndyCar on a business level and make it a business,” Maurini said. “In Lights in 2019 and 2020, it was a money-losing operation. Now, it’s profitable, which is the goal of any business. So I think on the IndyCar side, Henry has asked me to structure the business [so] the businesses can make money. There’s some big plans for the future. We’re talking about hospitality areas, expansion on the Lights side, and if we’re able to have a driver move to IndyCar, hopefully he’s able to move to IndyCar within HMD family. That’s the goal.”