The NTT IndyCar 2022 series has 26 full-time applications, and several other championships are either expanding or, like the IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Champions and the World Endurance Championship, are on the verge of GTP prototypes (LMDh) being introduced in 2023.
So finding good shots available for a one-time entry into the Indianapolis 500 under the leadership of DragonSpeed / Cusick Motorsports by Stefan Wilson has proved difficult, as most of the best engineers and mechanics are already committed to full-season companies. Julian’s team will make its third attempt at the classic Memorial Day weekend tournament, becoming the 33rdetc. and probably the final record.
Said Julian, “[IndyCar] is almost a victim of its own success, in a sense, but it only hurts on Speedway. If you look at the list of commands in your head that could also join the network … DragonSpeed is one of the only ones on this list, everyone else is already in the field.
“Not many other teams that can come and do one-offs like it used to be. I am sure that for the speedway it will be difficult to navigate in the future, because if they strengthen these really high-quality, quality applications, full budget, the best drivers, really focused on the numbers from 26 to 28, it will be difficult. There has to be some movement to make it possible, to have engines available, to have a chassis available, and to have a certain level of commitment from the biggest teams that they have to do, otherwise I don’t understand how else you can. “
Wilson added: “As someone else pointed out to me two or three months ago, it’s just a general interest not only in IndyCar but also in car racing across the country. You see records of record size in the Ferrari Challenge and Porsche Carrera Cup, even the Super Trofeo, even in the Road to Indus. We have huge network sizes.
“Each of these cars in all these different series uses staff, and it just makes it hard to find the right staff for these one-time records because they’ve already made a year or in their conflict schedule … I think that’s good news around, at the very the fact is that it all came together to make it a complete field. ”
Julian said there were other, deeper issues that caused a reduction in the number of quality team members available to IndyCar teams.
“Sports car racing and racing around the world, I’ll say the average age of an IndyCar crew member is much older than anywhere else I see,” he said. “The first time we went to IndyCar with my European team, they said, ‘Wow, we’re very young here.’ So I think there was a lack of new blood.
“Some of the older talented guys who are now retired have left. You have to ask Andy Brown [Tony Kanaan’s race engineer for Indy] and these guys to come back and race with you. So it was very little and now you have a lot of kids who go to school who have engineering degrees who want to get $ 150,000 when they teach school. No one just wants to work. So I think that’s part of it.
“I can tell you 100 percent that I am fighting with Penske in Europe for personnel. Last year they caught my system operator [for Penske’s LMP2 campaign in preparation for its LMH Porsche campaign in 2023]. I thought, “Why don’t you just take the whole team ?! But it is, and it is happening everywhere. There is a serious shortage of people.
“At the same time, there are people who drop out of Formula One because they can’t crack the schedule, so there’s a place to find people if you really need to.”