American racing driver RC Enerson will make his return to the NTT IndyCar Series this weekend at the 2019 Honda Indy 200 at Mid-Ohio. Enerson will race the #31 Chevrolet for Carlin, thus becoming the team’s sixth driver of the year due to their changing driver roster over the last few races.
Twenty-two year-old Enerson was heavily linked with a potential part-time ride with Carlin for this season after having taken part in extensive testing with the team earlier this year. Enerson drove for the team at both Laguna Seca and the Circuit of the Americas and logged many laps behind the wheel of the team’s #23 Chevrolet.
Ultimately, however, the team would elect to continue with Max Chilton on what started out as a full-time deal in the #59 car, with Patricio O’Ward and Charlie Kimball originally set to split driving duties of the team’s second car throughout the year. This changed, however, when O’Ward was signed to the Red Bull driver academy in May. O’Ward continued with Carlin at the Duel in Detroit and at Road America, but now it seems as though he will be concentrating on racing with Red Bull in the Japanese Super Formula championship as well as the odd appearance in Formula 2.
This, coupled with Max Chilton’s announcement shortly thereafter where he would confirm that he would no longer be competing in oval races, led to another shake-up to Carlin’s driver line-up. Since these two announcements, the team has bought in Sage Karam and Conor Daly to race for the team.
Now, it is Enerson’s turn to take the wheel. Enerson will drive the #31 Chevrolet with backing from the Lucas Oil Driving School where he currently works as an instructor. RC stated today that he “couldn’t be happier” to be finally getting back behind the wheel of an IndyCar this weekend.
“We’ve been working really hard to get something together to get me back in the seat at some point this season, and I couldn’t be happier that it’s all come together for Mid-Ohio,” Enerson said in today’s announcement.
“Mid-Ohio has always been one of my favourite tracks on the schedule. I’ve just always loved the elevation changes and all of the high-speed flowing corners.”
Enerson’s IndyCar debut came at Mid-Ohio back in 2016 when he was signed on a one-race deal with Dale Coyne Racing. After finishing the race in nineteenth-place, Enerson would return to the car later in the year for Watkins Glen and Sonoma, with RC taking his first top-ten finish at Watkins Glen.
Enerson would not return to the IndyCar grid for 2017 or 2018, but his hopes of regaining an IndyCar ride were bolstered when he made several appearances in pre-season testing for 2019 with Carlin. In today’s announcement of his signing for Mid-Ohio this weekend, team boss Trevor Carlin stated that Enerson’s performance during pre-season testing impressed him enough to put him in the car for this Sunday’s race.
“RC really impressed us at Spring Training at COTA at the beginning of the season, and we were very hopeful that something could come together at some point that would put him back in the car,” Carlin said.
“RC has spent a lot of time with our team this season, and he has quite a bit of experience at Mid-Ohio, including an IndyCar start a few years back, so he should be able to jump back in and make the transition a smooth one.”
Enerson will be partnered by Max Chilton for this weekend’s race. RC will be hoping to perform well in order to try and land himself more race opportunities later in the season or in 2020.
RC’s first on-track action in the #31 Carlin will come in practice this Friday. Qualifying will follow on Saturday after final practice, with the race itself, the Honda Indy 200 at Mid-Ohio, taking place on Sunday, July 28.