Indy Lights series champion Patricio “Pato” O’Ward has joined the Carlin team for 12 IndyCar events this season and will make his 2019 debut March 24 at Circuit of the Americas in Austin, Texas.
O’Ward also will race at Barber Motorsports Park, the streets of Long Beach, the Grand Prix at Indianapolis Motor Speedway, the Indianapolis 500, the Detroit Grand Prix doubleheader, Road America, the streets of Toronto, Iowa Speedway, Mid-Ohio Sports Car Course, Gateway Motorsports Park and Portland International Raceway.
He will be the team’s second entry in each race except for the Indy 500, in which O’Ward will be the team’s third entry with Max Chilton and Charlie Kimball.
By winning the Indy Lights title, O’Ward earned a $1 million scholarship to advance to the NTT IndyCar Series with three guaranteed races, including the 103rd Indy 500.
O’Ward originally had planned to take the money to Harding Steinbrenner Racing, but the deal fell apart last month.
“I’m extremely grateful for the opportunity that Trevor Carlin has given me to drive for his team and Team Chevy,” O’Ward said in a release. “I’m just thankful that he and the whole Carlin team really believe in me and I’ll give it my all to show them that I’m ready to tackle any challenges ahead of us starting in a few weeks at COTA. I just don’t think I can properly express how excited I am for this opportunity. It’s been a very stressful past few weeks given my circumstances and it’s been a bit of a hustle trying to find a new home, but I couldn’t be happier about landing at Carlin.”
Said team principal Trevor Carlin: “I’ve had the pleasure of working with many talented drivers over the years, many of whom now race in the NTT IndyCar Series, Formula One and Formula E to name a few, and in Pato I really see a spark similar to some of our highest achieving alumni. He’s a hugely promising talent who deserves this opportunity and has a massive amount of potential.”
O’Ward, 19, began his racing career in go karts at 6. He moved into Indy LIghts full time last season, compiling nine victories and a series-record nine pole positions. In 2017, he also became the youngest Prototype Challenge class winner at the Rolex 24 Hours at Daytona.
Carlin is entering its second full season in IndyCar after three seasons in Indy Lights.