Josef Newgarden will pursue his third NTT IndyCar Series championship with a third different race engineer in three seasons.
With the departure of Team Penske engineer Gavin Ward to Arrow McLaren SP late in 2021, the North Carolina-based outfit hired former Pratt & Miller Engineering talent Eric Leichtle to replace Ward last season. Despite his lack of IndyCar race engineering experience, Leichtle and Newgarden combined to win five races — more than any other entry — on the way to placing second in the standings to teammate Will Power.
RACER has confirmed Newgarden will head into 2023 with another first-time IndyCar race engineer in Australia’s Luke Mason, who joined Team Penske in 2022 as the performance engineer on the Tennessean’s No. 2 Chevy. Mason transitioned to the Penske camp after serving as Carlin Racing’s IndyCar performance engineer from 2018 and race strategist through the end of 2021.
Prior to IndyCar, Mason worked in NASCAR as a race engineer for Richard Childress Racing, which was his first post in the United States; his experience down under includes a variety of engineering roles within the Australian Supercars paddock and other related sports car endeavors.
RACER understands Leichtle remains with the team and has shifted to working on IndyCar engineering R&D projects.