Juncos Hollinger Racing and driver Callum Illott are feeling optimistic heading into this afternoon’s Honda Indy Grand Prix of Alabama.
Illott’s practice speeds show growth throughout the weekend as he placed eighth, and ninth before leading yesterday evening’s final practice session. The impressive result comes after Illott just saw the 2.38-mile road course last week during a team test.
The team’s quick progress ahead of their first race together on a natural terrain road course has Illott excited for Barber and beyond.
“I hope it’s more than just the track, I hope we found a little bit,” he said. “I hope so because it’ll be good going into future races.
“I struggled here in the test. That didn’t set us amazingly to start with, but we, we analyzed everything, tried to improve the best of what we could on our own and we’re in a good position. It’s the car works well with the track.”
The Britton is beginning his maiden NTT IndyCar Series season after finishing second to current Haas F1 driver Mick Schumacher in the 2020 F2 Championship. He served as reserve driver for Alfa Romeo Racing in 2021 before moving to Juncos Hollinger Racing in late 2021.
He scored his best qualifying result of the season of 11th yesterday and is poised to improve on his finish today. His best previous result was 16th at the Texas Motor Speedway.
“I think we’re, we’re in good shape,” he said. “We’ve got a lot to work on, but like I said, with time it will get better. And also I was hoping that we were getting a couple of races like this, where you can show the pace you have when it’s there. So, yeah, it’s great to be up there with the big guys and show them what them what we can do.”
Team owner Ricardo Juncos shares his driver’s sentiment. Juncos partnered up with entrepreneur Brad Hollinger to take his team full time for 2022. The partnership has allowed the team to create a steady foundation for the future.
Illott’s result at Barber has him feeling happy for his team.
“I know it’s the warmup session is after qualifying, but for me, it’s more than that,” he said. “It’s just how much we learn every time. That’s because my goal is later, right. We need to build something really good from the beginning, from the bottom – and that’s what we are doing.
“So obviously this is a good, big, big help for the team, for the morale of the team. This is a huge step forward, but, uh, we are gonna keep our head down and we gonna keep working as we normally do. One day we can be a potential top form team.”