Chip Ganassi Racing will continue its future driver evaluation project next week with the arrival of New Zealand’s Nick Cassidy. The Kiwi will sample one of the team’s Honda-powered Indy cars during the last significant group test prior to the start of the season on March 3-5 at St. Petersburg.
Revered for his speed and adaptability, the 28-year-old will join CGR at Sebring International Raceway where approximately two-thirds of the full-time field will run on the short outer loop across Monday and Tuesday.
Flying directly from the Hyderabad ePrix in India — where he’ll compete this weekend for the Envision Racing FIA Formula E team — to Florida, the Japanese Formula 3, Super GT and Super Formula champion will sample a CGR Indy car on Tuesday, one day after his friend and countryman Marcus Armstrong tests for the team.
“We’re excited to be able to test Nick and owe a debt of gratitude to IndyCar and Nick’s team for making this happen,” said CGR managing director Mike Hull. “This is all in an effort to understand the driver landscape going into 2024 so we can be ready.”
The Cassidy test will be the second of its kind as Ferrari Driver Academy member and Scuderia Ferrari Formula 1 test driver Robert Shwartzman was given an evaluation run at Sebring in early January; the Israel-born, Russian-raised driver was fastest among the four pilots at the test.
Signed to a revised contract that allows for his departure after the upcoming season, CGR’s 2021 IndyCar Series champion Alex Palou is not expect to remain in the No. 10 Honda after 2023. With the anticipation of a title-caliber entry in need of a top-tier driver, the likes of Shwartzman and Cassidy are being embraced at an early stage in the season to give CGR ample time to weigh its options.
“We were fortunate to test Robert before the Formula 1 season started, and if we hadn’t, it probably would have had to wait until the end of their season which runs late in the year,” Hull noted. “And the same goes for Nick before the Formula E season really gets up and running. Their season ends earlier than F1, but it’s our preference to do these evaluations now and have that information in the bank.”