New Teams...New Drivers
Last year during the 2017 Indianapolis 500, Scuderia Corsa dipped their toe into the INDYCAR water. They paired up with Rahal Letterman Lanigan Racing and Oriol Servia (who went on to finish seventeenth after running as high as second but having to pit for fuel with a few laps to go). Recently, Scuderia Corsa took a larger step by joining up with Ed Jones to take over the role of Ed Carpenter’s Road Course Buddy for the 2019 season.
So who is Scuderia Corsa and what does this mean?
Scuderia Corsa has a history in sports car championship as far back as 2012. They started off helping Ferrari clients with their racing needs (I’m too middle-class to even understand what that means!) and races in the Ferrari Challenge series. In 2015, 2016, and 2018 the team achieved a first place rank in the IMSA Sports Car Championship. They also received a first place (GTE-AM class) in the 2016 24 Hours of Le Mans, with former INDYCAR driver Townsend Bell as part of the winning team.
The joining of Scuderia Corsa with Ed Carpenter Racing is like what we’ve all ready seen in the series. Think back to Harding Racing and Steinbrenner that happened, or Steinbrenner Racing and Andretti Autosport in the IndyLights program. This is another positive step for the series. The more teams that are interested the more spots we have for drivers and the more cars we get to see on tracks. Everyone has a driver who is lacking a ride – when we have more teams we, by simple math, have more rides.
Except of course the pesky issue of engines. This is where all the talks of new teams and new seats and new drivers gets stymied. It will most likely be at least 2021 before another engine manufacture (OEM) joins INDYCAR. That’s the hang up, it’s my opinion that many other teams are interested in joining INDYCAR (we’ve all seen the rumblings, and give McLaren a few extra years to figure out what they want to be when they grow up), but we’re running into engine math. Both Honda and Chevrolet are only providing a finite number of engines for the series and when the series reaches that number that’s it. From what my memory and research recalls it’s approximately 18 engines. This year’s Indianapolis 500 is an example of such a moment. Everyone was doing engine math as the names kept rolling in: we had bump day but we nearly ran out of engines.
New teams are a good thing. I am anticipating a bump day next year for the Indianapolis 500. Who knows, in a few years we may have an issue at other tracks given pit lane size.