Carlin has announced today that Conor Daly and Felipe Nasr will fill two of the final three pieces of their driver puzzle for the 2020 NTT IndyCar Series. Daly will race the #59 Gallagher Chevrolet for the oval races with the exception of the Indianapolis 500, whilst Felipe Nasr has been confirmed to drive the #31 Chevrolet for just the season-opening Grand Prix of St. Petersburg so far.
It was announced at the beginning of last month that Max Chilton has been re-signed to the British IndyCar team, but that he would be continuing to race the #59 car for just the road course and street circuit races as well as the Indianapolis 500. Today, it was announced that the #59 car would be shard between Chilton and Conor Daly, who took over Chilton’s car for the oval races after Chilton decided against racing on ovals mid-way through last year.
With Daly behind the wheel, the #59 car would soon be taken to it’s best finishes of the year. Gateway Motorsports Park would see Daly’s best showing, with the American running up with the race-leaders for much of the event before finishing in sixth-place.
Today’s news means that Daly now has a drive for all seventeen races that will make up the 2020 NTT IndyCar Series. Daly will race on the road courses and street circuits driving the #20 Chevrolet for Ed Carpenter Racing. He will share the car with team owner, Ed Carpenter, who will drive in the oval races; with Daly driving a third entry for ECR at the Indianapolis 500. 2020 will be the first time since 2017 that Daly has contested the entirety of the NTT IndyCar Series.
“We are BACK to full time IndyCar competition!” Daly tweeted today, “Have to first of all thank Ed Carpenter Racing and Ed Carpenter for letting me do this. Its been a tough couple years having to watch a lot of racing from the sidelines. Means so much to have this chance. Thank you Carlin Racing!”
Up until today, the identity of the driver of Carlin’s second car, the #31 Chevrolet, was also a mystery. Now, we know who will drive the car for the season-opening race, at least. After testing with the team at the Circuit of the Americas last month, Felipe Nasr will make his NTT IndyCar Series race debut.
Nasr will be known to most due to his previous tenure racing in Formula 1. The Brazilian finished 3rd in the GP2 Series in 2014 and went on to graduate to Formula 1 for the 2015 season with the Sauber F1 Team. Sadly for Felipe, his greatest race would come in his first start; finishing in a miraculous fifth-place at the Australian Grand Prix. He would remain with the team for the 2016 season, but he would only finish inside the top ten on a further six occasions.
Despite outscoring team-mate, Marcus Ericsson, in 2015 and then going on to score the team’s only points in 2016, Nasr was dropped by Sauber ahead of the 2017 season, with Ericsson keeping his seat to partner the incoming Pascal Wehrlein.
As a result, Nasr would find a new home in the form of the IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship, driving for Whelan Racing Engineering from 2018 until now. Nasr, along with his team-mate in the #31 Cadillac Daytona Prototype entry, Eric Curran, would win the title in 2018. Nasr would go on to finish as the runner-up in 2019 with his new team-mate, Pipo Derani.
Nasr will continue to race full-time in the IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship this season, thus preventing him from racing with Carlin in the NTT IndyCar Series full-time due to scheduling conflicts. Due to this, Nasr has only been confirmed for St. Petersburg so far, with more races for Felipe as well as the identity of the other driver(s) of the #31 car still to be confirmed.
“I’m very pleased to be joining Carlin for my first ever weekend in an Indy car in St. Petersburg this weekend,” Nasr said today. “It’s nice to see that all the work we’ve put into this program together has finally paid off. I’m thankful for Trevor Carlin for giving me the opportunity to drive the No. 31 Carlin Chevrolet this weekend and to Chevy for supporting this program. I’m very keen to contribute to the team with my experience and my knowledge and to hopefully show that the speed we had at Sebring a few days ago will translate onto the streets of St. Petersburg. I know the team has been working really hard over the offseason and I’m very excited to get out on track first thing on Friday morning.”
The 2020 NTT IndyCar Series will kick-off this weekend with the season-opening Grand Prix of St. Petersburg on Sunday, March 15.