Carlin has announced today that Patricio O’Ward will race for the team in twelve races of the upcoming 2019 NTT IndyCar Series. O’Ward – who was forced to depart Harding Steinbrenner Racing last month before what would have been a full-time season this year – has now been picked up by Carlin for a part-time season, the highlight of which will be the 2019 Indianapolis 500 in May.
O’Ward will drive the second full-time Carlin Chevrolet this season, joining the team’s sole full-time driver, Max Chilton. Charlie Kimball will drive the second car for the races that O’Ward doesn’t, but both drivers will be in action at the Indianapolis 500, as O’Ward will drive a third Carlin Chevrolet.
Patricio’s season will kick-off at the second round at the Circuit of the Americas. He will be back in the car for the following round at Barber Motorsports Park, as well as the Grand Prix of Long Beach. O’Ward will race in both events at Indianapolis in May, the Grand Prix and the 500, and will continue his run of races with the doubleheader at Detroit at the start of June.
O’Ward will miss the race at Texas Motor Speedway, with Kimball back behind the wheel of the car. Patricio will return for a run of four races, starting at Road America before heading to the Honda Indy Toronto, Iowa Speedway and Mid-Ohio. His final two races will come at Gateway Motorsports Park and Portland International Raceway.
“I wanted to start off by saying that I’m so excited to get this 2019 NTT IndyCar Series season underway and I’m extremely grateful for the opportunity that Trevor Carlin has given me to drive for his INDYCAR team and Team Chevy,” said O’Ward today,
“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 in the NTT IndyCar Series for myself, but I couldn’t be happier about landing at Carlin.”
As O’Ward alluded to, it has been a difficult few weeks for the Mexican prior to today’s announcement. O’Ward had been set to race the entire 2019 season with Harding Steinbrenner Racing until it was announced last month that Patricio would be leaving the team. O’Ward stated that the decision was his own, but many have stated that O’Ward’s departure came about due to the team lacking funds to run him full-time.
The news of O’Ward’s departure from Harding came as a shock and a massive disappointment to many fans, who had been massively impressed by the teenager after his debut in last year’s season-finale at Sonoma Raceway. Patricio took Harding to their best-ever qualifying performance by taking fifth-place on the grid, before following that up with a solid drive in the race to take a top ten finish.
O’Ward would go on to earn further plaudits in his appearance at the Race of Champions in Mexico City in January, where he would beat drivers such as Mick Schumacher, Johan Kristoffersson, David Coulthard and others during the event.
Thankfully, due to winning last year’s Indy Lights title, O’Ward had a decent amount of scholarship money to help him find a seat following his split from Harding. With that, O’Ward has found a new home in the form of Carlin, who are about to embark on their second season of IndyCar racing.
Trevor Carlin, the team principal of the British squad, stated in today’s announcement that Patricio is “a hugely promising talent” and that the whole team is “excited” to be giving O’Ward the opportunity to race this year.
“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,” said Carlin.
“He’s a hugely promising talent who deserves this opportunity and has a massive amount of potential. As a young Chevy team, we are incredibly driven and excited to help him achieve his goals in this 2019 program.”
The 2019 NTT IndyCar Series will get under-way this weekend with the season-opening Grand Prix of St. Petersburg. The first two practice sessions will take place tomorrow. Final practice and qualifying will be run on Saturday, with the race itself following on Sunday. O’Ward’s first outing with Carlin will follow two weeks later at the Circuit of the Americas.