Max Chilton and Charlie Kimball sit on different sides of the fence regarding the performance of Carlin on their debut in the Verizon IndyCar Series. The two-car team ran their first race in last weekend’s 2018 Grand Prix of St. Petersburg.
Chilton and Kimball qualified twentieth and twenty-first for last Sunday’s race and then finished just one position further up after the 110-lap event. Despite the low finish, British driver Chilton, who took nineteenth in the #59 Gallagher Chevrolet, claims that he is pleased with how the team fared on debut:
“When the tires were in, we had good performance, so we made gains throughout the weekend,” said Chilton post-race, “Considering this was Carlin’s first Indy car race, I’d say it wasn’t a bad showing at all. We definitely have work to do and we aren’t where we want to be yet. I think all-around we did a good job and we’ll make sure we’re ready for Phoenix.”
“I’m confident in the team and the drivers that we can improve from that, so fingers crossed, we’ll get to Phoenix and we’ll be on it.”
However, Chilton’s team-mate Kimball was less pleased. The American seemed very disappointed with his twentieth place finish after the race and believed that they should’ve been higher up. He cited the team’s prior experience and success in series such as Indy Lights, GP2 and various other junior formulae categories as a reason why the team should be pushing for better results in the not too distant future:
“At Carlin, you don’t come to the track to finish 19th and 20th,” said Kimball, who, like Chilton, also raced for Carlin many years ago on his way up the racing ladder, “Our goal really is to be fighting for race wins and podiums.
“I’d say we probably doubled or even tripled our knowledge on the Indy cars here in St. Pete. I’m looking forward to going back and getting with the engineers, learning, digesting and figuring out what we need to do in the future.”
Carlin is the first ever British team to race full-time in the Verizon IndyCar Series. This, coupled with their success in every championship they’ve entered, means that team boss Trevor Carlin must be under a lot of pressure; especially as his jump to the IndyCar series is arguably the biggest move of the team’s history.
After what was a relatively unassuming result in round one, Carlin took to the middle ground when it came to the issue of his team’s performance. He was partially pleased, but he agreed with Kimball that they should’ve been higher up the order:
“There’s two ways to it,” Carlin said, “We performed well because we got both cars to the finish in our first-ever Indy car race, but we also performed badly because we finished 19th and 20th, so we’ve got a lot of work to do.
“We didn’t meet the targets I wanted. I was hoping to be closer to the top 10 than we were. We didn’t have the pace, we’re not understanding the tires properly, so we’ve got a bit more work to do.”
Carlin will be hoping to show signs of improvement in the second round of the championship at ISM Raceway in Phoenix, Arizona on Saturday, April 7. The team, along with the rest of the Verizon IndyCar Series squads, ran a large number of laps at Phoenix in pre-season testing. As a result, they’ll be hoping that their prior experience at the circuit will be a solid foundation that leads to a strong race result.