Five months of work came to fruition this weekend as the Carlin team made its debut in the Verizon IndyCar Series. Taking to the track for the season opener, the Firestone Grand Prix of St Petersburg, Florida, the team’s drivers Max Chilton and Charlie Kimball made history for the team, completing the 110 lap race to come home 19th and 20th respectively.
While an eventful race left both drivers and team frustrated at the final result, both cars ran without issue and the team completed its first live pit stops.
Making his 118th career start in the series, Kimball made up several places as racing action got underway, but a spin on lap three left the Tresiba® Chevrolet driver on the sidelines which brought out the first full caution of the race. Able to recover, Kimball rejoined the race and took 20th after making five pit stops throughout the race.
Chilton meanwhile was making steady progress. Passing on vital feedback over the radio during the team’s first race, the Gallagher driver stayed clear of incidents, until making a late pit stop in the final laps of the race. Exiting the pits on black Firestones, Chilton struggled for tyre temperature and hit the tyre barriers, bringing out the seventh full course caution of the race. Recovering with assistance, Chilton continued to finish 19th.
Max Chilton, No. 59 Gallagher Chevrolet: “We just finished our first race ever for the Carlin INDYCAR team. The No. 59 Gallagher Chevrolet started 20th, but we finished 19th so we moved forward one position. It was a long hard race. I think it was around two hours and 20 minutes and there were probably six or seven yellow sessions, so it was really hard to keep our tires up to temperature which was something we were struggling with all day. When the tires were in, we had good performance, so we made gains throughout the weekend. Considering this was Carlin’s first INDYCAR 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.”
Charlie Kimball, No. 23 Tresiba® Chevrolet: “Honestly it was a disappointing day results-wise. At Carlin, you don’t come to the track to finish 19th and 20th, our goal really is to be fighting for race wins and podiums. We came into this weekend with limited knowledge and experience in the series, but 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. We’ve got a couple of tests before the Phoenix race and we tested there a few weeks back, so I know that we’ll be more competitive at the next race and continue to work our way forward.”
The team will be back in action for the next round in the series at the Phoenix Grand Prix, ISM Raceway, Arizona from 14 – 15 April.