A1GP champion Adam Carroll will make his IndyCar debut at Watkins Glen during the 4th of July weekend – and says he feels right at home in America, away from the “cut-throat” world of European racing.
The Portadown racer, a veteran of GP2 and an ex-F1 tester, was signed for a partial schedule in the main American single-seater series by Andretti Autosport, whose owner Michael Andretti ran the American opposition to his Irish team in A1GP.
In a press conference during the build-up to Sunday’s Indianapolis 500 the team announced he would make his debut at the historic Watkins Glen circuit, sited in upstate New York and a former venue for the United States Grand Prix.
At least two more outings are planned, the Andretti-owned Honda Indy Toronto and at the Mid-Ohio Sports Car Course in Lexington, with more to come if sponsorship can be found.
Carroll said: “It’s a great way to start my career in America, it couldn’t be any better. I’ve waited a long time and I’m eventually here, so it’s all happening.”
Talking later to blogger Chris Estrada of Indy Racing Revolution, he said: “An IndyCar is just about the only car I actually haven’t driven yet, it’s a car I’ve been wanting to get into for a long time, and I’m looking forward to it.
“Coming from Europe, it’s completely cut-throat there. It doesn’t matter really how much talent you’ve got. it’s all to do with money. To come here is like a breath of fresh air.
“I’m working with some good people, I felt comfortable right away. I think that is one of the things that really helped this deal come together. This team are the ultimate professionals and really good people.”
Andretti said: “We’re excited to have Adam on board. We’ve been watching him for some time and think he is a real talent. Even more important, he’s a great guy.
“When you have a team the size of ours you have to have the right personalities, and I think Adam is going to be perfect for that. He fits right in with our family. I can’t wait to get him in the race car.”
Sponsorship will come from a returning Andretti backer, Boost Mobile, which will also have some space on Danica Patrick’s car in the Indy 500.
The team re-stated its aim to run Carroll as an extra driver and not as a replacement for Ryan Hunter-Reay, who currently lacks the funding to complete the season despite being fourth in the championship.