The Juncos Hollinger Racing team sure is making it hard to ignore its quick rise to road course competitiveness.
Coming off Callum Ilott’s run to an eighth-place starting position at the recent Honda Indy Grand Prix of Alabama, the Briton and his No. 77 JHR Chevy squad were at it again in qualifying for the Indy Grand Prix with a blast to seventh on the grid.
“We’ve been putting it together,” Ilott told RACER. “So we had these building blocks in place, but we’re trying to figure out – like a game of Tetris – how to make the car work best for me and for the team. And what we realize is the road course car is better. We’ve got a good platform for that.”
Lacking a teammate to try different chassis setup options, Ilott credited the modest JHR crew for working through a range of ideas and returning to something that worked in qualifying.
“We made some changes in FP1, it went well, we made some changes for FP2, it was not as strong and we had to go back in a bit of a different direction,” he said. “But we got it good for quali. But the developments really only just started, where we’re really starting from zero and then just hurrying to put it together.”
It wasn’t lost on Ilott that he and the JHR team out-qualified the entire Andretti Autosport and Rahal Letterman Lanigan Racing teams, among other heavy hitters. Next on the to-do list is to turn the great qualifying position into a great finish in the race.
“We’ve got a few more development option options to come, which will probably be later on in the year, but I do think there’s only a little bit more we can do to go forward on the road courses,” he said. “But we’re ahead of a Penske car, some Andrettis, some Rahals. I want to get us to a place where we do this on the street courses as well, because this is where I feel I should be. Now we just need to have it carry over with a finish where we should be.”