Daly eyes switch to IndyCar Series
14 December 2012 – GP3 driver Conor Daly had his first taste of IndyCar as he tested with A.J. Foyt Racing at Sebring International Raceway on December 13th. The soon-to-be 21-year-old is looking at options for 2013 and is making no secret of his desire to be competing in the American series should the opportunity arise.
The son of former Williams driver Derek, Daly competed for Lotus GP in GP3 in 2012, scoring his maiden win in the series in Barcelona at the start of the season. Despite four further podiums throughout the year, however, the often too familiar budget problems are leaving the opportunities for the next twelve months in the balance.
“We don’t really know yet what we can do [for 2013],” Daly said after his IndyCar test. “We have had some great sponsors and supporters around us, but it will take more if we want to move up in Europe and also if we can do IndyCar. Europe has been awesome; I’ve learned a lot. But the financial backing is something that we don’t have to move to the next level.”
Having enjoyed his first outing in the Sebring test, in which he clocked the ninth-quickest lap out of the 15 drivers involved, Daly hopes patriotic reasons might help his way into the ABC Supply-liveried car fielded by A.J. Foyt.
“As an American, I would love to be in a red, white and blue car and I think ABC Supply would like to see an American as well, so I think that would be a good fit - not maybe just next year but in the future,” he exclaimed, before making his point clearer. “They have a [yet unnamed] driver for next year in their main car and I’d like to help them as much as possible and learn; hopefully they would want to run a second car and I would love to be in that second car.”
Whatever the future holds for the youngster, the experience matured in Sebring was worth in itself.
“We had a great day, though it was much too short," he beamed. "It was interesting to get into the car for the first time. I thought it would be really different and would take most of the morning to really get in a competitive range, but honestly we were quite competitive early.”
In particular, the opportunity to confront himself in similar machinery against some of the most prestigious drivers in the series made for a memorable day.
“This was my birthday present,” said Daly, who turns 21 on Saturday 15th December. “One time I was catching Helio [Castroneves] and thought, ‘What is this, what am I doing?’ These are guys I’ve looked up to and seen for years.”