Carlin has arrived in IndyCar, and team owner Trevor Carlin told FanSided why his team’s worth watching in the 2018 IndyCar season.
Carlin has joined the Verizon IndyCar Series for the 2018 IndyCar season, bringing a new team to the IndyCar grid. But you know the team, and you know the names behind it; it’s just now they’re getting their shot to shine.
Trevor Carlin is the man behind the moniker, and he spoke to FanSided about bringing the team into IndyCar after winning the 2016 Indy Lights championship and what fans should expect to see in the squad’s first season.
Read what he had to tell us below, then be on the lookout when Carlin takes the grid in Saturday’s Phoenix Grand Prix at 6:00 p.m. ET on NBCSN.
FanSided: You’ve wanted to field an IndyCar team for awhile now. What is it about the Verizon IndyCar Series that appeals to you?
Trevor Carlin (TC): I’ve enjoyed watching specifically IndyCar and racing for a good 30 years or so. We decided to expand to the States, and we started off with Indy Lights with the long-term intention of getting into IndyCar if we could. Then somehow we managed to find a way to bring it all together so it was just something we wanted to do. We love the racing and we love the idea of the challenge.
FanSided: Was there something about the 2018 IndyCar season that made it the right time?
TC: This is when the pieces finally came together, and I’m a firm believer that when something is right, it’s right. The timing with the new aero kit and the standardization of the cars couldn’t have worked out more perfectly, really. It’s not like a complete level playing field, because the other teams have been doing IndyCar for 20-30 years and they’ve got greater knowledge, but at least there’s a bit of a reset so we have half a chance at doing a decent job.
FanSided: You’ve brought in Max Chilton and Charlie Kimball, both of whom raced for Carlin in Formula 3. Why were they the right drivers for your IndyCar effort?
TC: [Charlie] did a fantastic job. He finished second in the championship as a rookie behind [Alvaro] Parente, who’s a big sportscar driver — and he was driving for us as well so we had a one-two in the championship that year. It was just a really fun, great season working with Charlie. Then he went on to do World Series. We shared a lot of good times together.
Max did Formula 3 with us and Max did a brilliant job. It’s a great story. Two great friends of the team, two great drivers and we couldn’t wish for any better. It’s fabulous.
FanSided: Many of your IndyCar competitors are former Carlin drivers, like reigning champion Josef Newgarden, Ed Jones and Robert Wickens. What’s it like racing against people who raced for you before?
TC: To be honest, it’s really nice. They’re good friends. The fun thing about this is, it’s a great place to be. Everyone’s enjoying the racing. When they get in the car and pull the visor down, those guys are out there racing. But when they’re in the powder room getting on like great friends, it’s like a homecoming in a way.
FanSided: Carlin Motorsport was the first UK organization to win a US racing title when you captured the 2016 Indy Lights championship. How much of that success translates into your effort for the 2018 IndyCar season?
TC: There’s certain processes and methods that you use when racing a car, and that’s what we’re adopting with IndyCar. Whether it’s Formula 3 or an Indy Lights car, we work in the same way. Plus our three years of doing Lights has helped us learn the routines — the way the American system works, the way tech works and regulations are applied and all that stuff.
FanSided: You’ve mentioned the challenge of IndyCar racing. So how do you set expectations for the team going into this first season?
TC: We have to be realistic [and] we also have to be respectful to our competition. It would be disrespectful to think we’re going to turn up and win straight away. They work very hard, all of them, to be where they are and to do what they do, so we’ve got to work harder just to catch up and be on the same page.
We’ll do our best, keep our heads down, we won’t make any predictions or ambitions but we want to be in IndyCar for the long term, and to be in it long-term, we need to start getting results. I’d like to think [by] the second half of the year we can start to know what we’re doing, understand the car and get some reasonable results. But I wouldn’t be expecting to win any races this year.
We want to go out there and enjoy it, and we want to part of the future championship success. We want to hopefully introduce new fans here in Europe to IndyCar. If there’s a few thousand people in Europe that watch it because we’re there, then I think that’ll be good news for us and good news for all the other guys. It’s a pretty big challenge, but we’re up for it.