As the full-time rider lineup for the 2022 NTT INDYCAR SERIES season is almost established, the popular “silly season” of supposed and confirmed personnel changes is rapidly unfolding in another vital area for teams: technical personnel.
Many of the top teams in the NTT INDYCAR SERIES will see significant engineering staff shifts in 2022, with some welcoming new faces and others reshuffling the staff.
The departure of Gavin Ward (pictured above) from Team Penske to Arrow McLaren SP has been a big domino to fall in the silly season of engineering. Ward served as a racing engineer for Josef Newgarden and helped guide Newgarden to the 2019 NTT INDYCAR SERIES Championship.
Former Red Bull Formula 1 engineer Ward, originally from Canada, will hold a senior technical position for AMSP, which showcases Chevrolet-powered cars for Pato O’Ward and Felix Rosenqvist. Craig Hampson will be Rosenqvist’s new engineer, with Will Anderson remaining in the same role as O’Ward.
No replacement for Ward has been named to the Penske team, but the core team will see further changes due to the downsizing from four to three cars in 2022. Former engineer Simon Pagenaud, Ben Bretzman, switched to Scott McLaughlin’s No.3 Chevrolet for 2022, with former McLaughlin engineer Jonathan Diugud moving to Penske’s Porsche LMDh sports car program.
Pagenaud will be maneuvered by Garrett Mothersead in the driver’s first season with Meyer Shank Racing. Mothersead, who led Takuma Sato to victory in the 2017 Indianapolis 500 presented by Gainbridge for Andretti Autosport, will essentially swap roles with Andy Listes, who has worked with Jack Harvey for the past two seasons as part of the alliance. Andretti technique with MSR. Lists goes to Andretti Autosport to work with rookie Devlin DeFrancesco.
Another change for Andretti Autosport is the arrival of veteran French engineer Olivier Boisson with new team driver Romain Grosjean. The two have joined Andretti after working together last season during Grosjean’s impressive rookie season with Dale Coyne Racing with RWR.
Rahal Letterman Lanigan Racing is also beefing up its engineering squad, as the squad moves to three full-time cars – for veterans Graham Rahal and Jack Harvey and rookie Christian Lundgaard.
Ben Siegel joined RLL from Ed Carpenter Racing to serve as engineer for Lundgaard, with veteran RLL engineer Mike Armbrester in the same role for Harvey. Allan McDonald will remain Rahal’s engineer.
The INDYCAR range expands for the Rolex 24
The Rolex 24 At Daytona has evolved in recent years to become one of the true all-star events in motorsport, with drivers from various world series taking advantage of the late January date – before the start of almost every racing season – to kick off their year of competition. .
This year’s 24 Hour Sports Car Classic – January 29-30 at Daytona International Speedway – will feature at least 11 NTT INDYCAR SERIES and Indy Lights drivers in total.
In the Daytona Prototype (DPi) International Class 1, Indianapolis 500 winners Helio Castroneves, Simon Pagenaud and Alexander Rossi will lead, as will seven-time NASCAR Cup Series champion and fellow NTT INDYCAR SERIES veteran Jimmie Johnson.
Castroneves and Pagenaud will be teammates on the No. 60 Acura of Meyer Shank Racing, the team for which they both ride in INDYCAR. Johnson will be behind the wheel of Action Express Racing’s No.48 Cadillac, while Rossi returns to defend his Rolex 24 title with Wayne Taylor Racing in the No.10 Acura.
In the LMP2 prototype category, expected 2022 NTT INDYCAR SERIES title rivals Colton Herta and Pato O’Ward will join forces at Daytona in the # 81 ORECA fielded by former Indy 500 competitor DragonSpeed. Indy Lights veteran and Andretti Autosport 2022 NTT INDYCAR SERIES rookie Devlin DeFrancesco will join Herta and O’Ward in the squad roster.
INDYCAR 2021 winner Rinus VeeKay will drive Racing Team Nederland’s # 29 ORECA in the LMP2 class.
Defending Indy Lights champion and 2022 AJ Foyt Racing rookie Kyle Kirkwood will compete in the new GTD Pro class at Daytona, driving the # 14 INDYCAR SERIES Lexus and Indy 500 competitor Vasser -Sullivan Racing.
The GTD class will include two current Indy Lights pilots. Linus Lundqvist will race for Alegra Motorsports in his Mercedes-AMG, while Kyffin Simpson will share the No.66 Acura from Gradient Racing.
Another name familiar to INDYCAR fans will also return to Daytona later this month. INDYCAR and Indy 500 veteran Townsend Bell, who acts as the NBC coverage analyst for the NTT INDYCAR SERIES, will be one of the drivers of the # 12 Vasser-Sullivan Lexus in the GTD category. Bell won the GTD class in 2014 at the Rolex 24 and was the 2015 IMSA GTD champion. He also won the 24 Hours of Le Mans in 2016 in the GTE-Am category.
Ferrucci, Daly to run the bowl of chili
One of the most prestigious midget racing events of the season, the 36th Annual Lucas Oil Chili Bowl Nationals January 10-15 in Tulsa, Oklahoma, will feature two NTT INDYCAR SERIES drivers striving for the Golden Driller Award as winner of the indoor event. .
Santino Ferrucci and Conor Daly both race on gravel in Tulsa. Ferrucci will start his Chili Bowl competition this year in the preliminary race on Tuesday January 11, while Daly is expected to compete in the preliminary race on Friday January 14.