Max Chilton joins Carlin with eye on IndyCar for 2016

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Former Marussia F1 driver Max Chilton has joined Carlin Racing in the U.S., with an eye on competing in the Verizon IndyCar Series in 2016.

The Englishman has not yet been confirmed for a program in 2015, but will test in one of the team’s Indy Lights Presented by Cooper Tires chassis next week at Homestead-Miami Speedway for all three days.

“I’m very excited to be assisting Carlin in the USA,” Chilton said in a release. “While I’m still considering my options for 2015, the IndyCar package presents an interesting challenge and by assisting with the development of the Indy Lights team I’m keeping my options open for an IndyCar program in 2016 based on a strong foundation of knowledge and experience. Hopefully I can also help the guys at Carlin get as much as possible out of their first season in the USA.”

Added team boss Trevor Carlin, “We are very excited to embark on a long-term program in America and to have Max involved in that from the very start will make us a strong package. This season is very much about finding our feet as a team in the USA and Max’s experience will be invaluable to that. For Max we see 2015 very much as a chance to prepare him for a successful potential debut in IndyCar in 2016 and it made sense to help each other in those preparations.”

Chilton completed the full 2013 and all 2014 races in which Marussia competed, and opened with a finishing streak of 25 consecutive Grands Prix running before failing to finish for the first time.

Carlin has confirmed Ed Jones as its first driver for 2015.

Helio Castroneves ‘hustling’ for IndyCar, IMSA rides; talking with four to five teams

Helio Castroneves IMSA IndyCar
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As his season gathers steam, Helio Castroneves said his prospects for finding new rides for 2021 in IMSA and IndyCar also are gaining momentum.

The three-time Indianapolis 500 winner said Monday he is optimistic about landing in either or perhaps a combination of both series when Team Penske and Acura end their DPi partnership after this season.

“A lot of people I spoke with, four to five teams, are interested,” Castroneves said. “Whether it’s doing Indy 500 only, whether it’s pushing to do full time or do the sports cars as well. It’s been a very nice conversation.

LOOKING AHEADTeam Penske drivers seeking new rides for 2021

“I have a lot of respect for all the teams that have been talking, and I feel the same feedback. We just have to wait for their (sponsor) connections, and I’m also looking for some connections on my side as well, so hopefully we’ll be able to put this together and get something very soon.”

Given two decades of success with Penske in IndyCar and IMSA, Castroneves’ resume hardly needs burnishing. But the Brazilian has combined with co-driver Ricky Taylor in the No. 7 Acura DPi to win the past two overall victories at Road America and Michelin Raceway Road Atlanta.

But Castroneves, who doesn’t have a manager, said he has been working the phones hard rather than wait for the strong results to bring in the calls.

“At this point, I feel like I’m the one who needs to be talking to them because people need to know I want to continue racing and understand my desire,” Castroneves, 45, said. “There is opportunity, no question, in both (IndyCar and IMSA), which I’m really happy about it. However, because of the COVID-19, a lot of things sometimes have to be a little delayed. But I’m excited. Whatever the opportunity and whatever destiny guides me, whether IndyCar or sports cars, trust me I’ll be as happy as it could be and doing my 100 percent like I always did.

“It’s like politics, you need to be out there, good news or bad news. People have to make notice of your presence. I’m hustling. I want to continue to keep it going. Hopefully, we’ll have good news very soon.”

The news has been all good lately on track for Castroneves and Taylor, who hope to continue their run Sunday at Mid-Ohio Sports Car Course.

The No. 6 duo has surged to sixth in the IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship standings, 10 points out of the lead with four races remaining. After thinking there was “no hope” to be competitive after opening the season with three consecutive poor finishes, Taylor now sees an opportunity for a happy ending.

“With the program going away, Helio has won all the big races and given so much back to the team and left such a mark, he’s really part of Penske history,” Taylor said. “For me, it’s been an opportunity of a lifetime to be a part of it. I’d like to leave my little mark as well. Helio has won everything except for a championship.

“Obviously, we’ve won races already together, but we can win a championship now. I think if both of us can do that together and both win our first championship for ‘The Captain,’ that would be an absolute dream come true, and we can tie a bow on it and be happy.”