His presence on the grill it was a fact that only he was missing an official announcement, and this has come. Harding Racing has confirmed this Thursday that will be the tenth team full-time in the IndyCar series for the season 2018 and, for the moment, the only one who will field a single car, which will be piloted by the colombian Gabby Chaves. Harding thus became the second new team to compete full-time after Carlin, and the fourth in significantly expand their operations, relying to Reeds and Shank, after an initiation unbeatable in the category 2017.
In his debut as a team in the IndyCar series, Harding scored a top 10 in the 500 miles of Indianapolis thanks to the fantastic ninth position of Chaves, and the renowned businessman of pavements of Indiana chose to participate also in the other two races superspeedway. In them, Chaves survived multiple accidents in Texas a fifth-place finish, obtaining the best result of his career, and ranked eighth for the race in Pocono, in which he was hampered by mechanical problems. The crew took engines Chevrolet, and will continue to do so this year.
Now, both will have the opportunity to demonstrate what they are able to throughout a season: “I Want to give thanks to Mike Harding for believing in my potential and for giving me this opportunity,”, says Chaves. “The way to return to full-time has been very challenging, sometimes to the extreme that it seemed that I was not going to work, but I got a blessing with Harding last year, we gave a good show with a competitive package to demonstrate that it deserved to be here, and that is where I want to be. We did enough to extend my contract, and now we can build a future together”.
Chaves, resident from a very young age in the united States, did not have much success in his two years in Europe in the Formula 3 Italian and GP3 after winning the Formula BMW Americas, but in his return to the States he found the way to the IndyCar series after being runner-up in the Star Mazda and champion of the Indy Lights in 2014. Bryan Herta gave him the alternate in his first season of IndyCar, in which he showed flashes of talent, achieving two top 10 and coming to lead 31 laps of the 500-mile Pocono. Without a seat after being left without a sponsor and join Herta in Andretti, made a partial schedule of 7 races in Coyne that seemed to put an end to a brief career in the championship… until the appearance of Harding.
And is that this computer does not come ready to be one more with the passing of the years. The names with the counts prove it. Larry Curry, a veteran of teams from IndyCar since more than two decades ago, will continue to be the head of the team, having left behind the conviction for defrauding a million dollars to the Team Menard at the end of the 90’s. In the role of president, will be Brian Barnhart, after leaving his position as race director of the IndyCar series, and, again, your consultant, executive and coach drivers will be a illustrious: Al Unser, Jr., double champion of IndyCar (1990, 1994) and two-time winner of the Indianapolis 500-mile race (1992, 1994) and, even to this day, the eighth pilot with the most wins in the history of the championship, 34.
The second car, a possibility during the year
Compete with a single car could lead to a significant disadvantage for a new computer as Harding, especially in a racing circuit that still do not have ventured. During the preseason, had speculated with the possibility that the delay of the announcement should be to try to close a second pilot, something that has not happened. Chaves trusts to follow the example set by the last two great experiences of computers with a single bullet: “it’s Probably not ideal, but it happened a few years ago with great success, in Schmidt with Simon Pagenaud, and in recent years, Graham Rahal has shown that a computer in a car can be as competitive as one with several. With the restart of the development, the time on the track, and the information you can gather, it’s going to be very valuable, so we will have to be extra diligent in our work and make sure that everything we do has a purpose”.
For its part, Barnhart says that there are options of having a second car in some tests during the year, putting especially the spotlight in the Indy 500, as long as it benefits the team as a whole: “we Believe that there are several options on the way to expand; we still have an eye on a potential second car at Indianapolis and, perhaps, a couple of more runs if given the right circumstances. Our goal will be to expand to two cars for the entire season. Obviously, the finances and the sponsorship determined that at this time; we are not going to add a car unless you add a value. Teams with multiple cars have obvious advantages in short sessions, but we’re not going to put another one up that may be beneficial for Gabby in terms of data, input, feedback… “