Carpenter confirms two cars for Indy, Pigot free to look elsewhere

Ed Carpenter says that his team will not run a third car at this year’s Indianapolis 500, leaving Spencer Pigot free to chase an alternative ride.

Carpenter confirms two cars for Indy, Pigot free to look elsewhere
Ed Carpenter, Ed Carpenter Racing Chevrolet, J.R. Hildebrand, Ed Carpenter Racing Chevrolet
Ed Carpenter, Ed Carpenter Racing Chevrolet
Spencer Pigot, Ed Carpenter Racing Chevrolet
Conor Daly, Dale Coyne Racing Honda and Josef Newgarden, Ed Carpenter Racing Chevrolet in huge crash
Spencer Pigot, Ed Carpenter Racing Chevrolet
Josef Newgarden, Ed Carpenter Racing Chevrolet
J.R. Hildebrand, Ed Carpenter Racing Chevrolet
Ed Carpenter, Ed Carpenter Racing Chevrolet

In recent years, Ed Carpenter Racing has entered three cars for the “500”, with JR Hildebrand joining Carpenter and Josef Newgarden at IMS. For 2017, Hildebrand replaced Newgarden as the fulltime ECR driver, while oval specialist Carpenter shares his #20 car with series sophomore Spencer Pigot, who competes in the road/street course events.

However, Carpenter says only he and Hildebrand will race ECR cars in next month’s 101st Indianapolis 500.

He told Motorsport.com: “We weren’t able to put the right deal together for a third entry, because we’d have needed to buy another car, which now makes it pretty much impossible.

“We had five cars up until [Newgarden’s] accident at Texas last year. Now we’re down to four, the idea of going into May with three entries and only one spare car doesn’t make much sense, so buying another chassis would have been necessary.

“Plus the majority of people who we used to run the third car have gone elsewhere – understandably – and we’re not going to run an extra car just to go through the motions. We’d want all three cars to be competitive otherwise it doesn’t benefit the driver or the team as a whole.”

Pigot, as part of his three-race Mazda Road To Indy prize for winning the 2015 Indy Lights championship, competed at last year’s 500 for Rahal Letterman Lanigan Racing, before switching to Ed Carpenter Racing’s #20 car for all the post-Indy road/street course events. That’s a position he  retained for 2017, and Carpenter said the young American had been top of the list of candidates for a third car at Indy.

“It’s unfortunate that we couldn’t help Spencer, he’d be the obvious choice,” said Carpenter. “But he’s free to look for another ride. We’re certainly not going to stand in his way.”

Carpenter also said he had held talks with Stefan Wilson, who competed for KV Racing at Indy last year in a one-off entry, but “couldn’t put all the pieces of the deal together in time.”

IndyCar’s only team owner/driver said that he did not expect IndyCar’s 2018 universal aerokit would increase the costs for one-off extra entries for next year’s Indy 500.

“I don’t think that’s going to be a struggle,” said Carpenter. “For one thing, the kit is not going to be as big an investment as previously. And secondly, it’s less about the bodywork, and more about having the chassis – that’s the major cost.

“I’d love to have helped the Speedway get to 33 cars this year, but we couldn’t make more than two cars make sense, as a team.”

Pigot told Motorsport.com his prospects for an alternative ride for Indy this year weren’t looking strong.

“We’re looking around, but don’t have any money, so it doesn’t look like I’ll get a deal done,” he said. “We’ll see. There’s still some time left.” 

shares
comments
Q+A with team owner Sam Schmidt on 2018 IndyCar

Previous article

Q+A with team owner Sam Schmidt on 2018 IndyCar

Next article

Andretti drivers optimistic for Long Beach redemption

Andretti drivers optimistic for Long Beach redemption
Load comments
IndyCar’s longest silly-season is still at fever pitch Prime

IndyCar’s longest silly-season is still at fever pitch

The 2021 IndyCar silly season is one of the silliest of all, but it’s satisfying to see so many talented drivers in play – including Callum Ilott. David Malsher-Lopez reports.

IndyCar
Sep 11, 2021
IndyCar young guns are great, but the elders aren’t done yet Prime

IndyCar young guns are great, but the elders aren’t done yet

The ace 20-somethings in IndyCar have risen to become title contenders, but the best of the series veterans are digging deep and responding – and will continue to do so over the next couple of years, says David Malsher-Lopez.

IndyCar
Aug 20, 2021
The F1 champion who became an Indy king in his second career Prime

The F1 champion who became an Indy king in his second career

Emerson Fittipaldi’s decision to go racing with his brother led to him falling out of F1, but he bloomed again on the IndyCar scene. NIGEL ROEBUCK considers a career of two halves

Formula 1
Jul 31, 2021
The lasting legacy of a fallen Indy car rookie Prime

The lasting legacy of a fallen Indy car rookie

Jeff Krosnoff was plucked out of obscurity to become a respected and highly popular professional in Japan, and then got his big break in CART Indy car for 1996. But a tragic accident at Toronto 25 years ago cut short a promising career and curtailed his regular teammate Mauro Martini's passion for racing.

IndyCar
Jul 14, 2021
The winners and losers in IndyCar 2021 – Mid-season review Prime

The winners and losers in IndyCar 2021 – Mid-season review

At the halfway point in the 2021 NTT IndyCar Series season, we've had seven winners in eight races, spread between five teams – none of them Team Penske. In this unusual season, even by IndyCar standards, who’s excelling and who’s dragging their heels? David Malsher-Lopez reports.

IndyCar
Jun 18, 2021
The joy that exposes F1’s key weakness Prime

The joy that exposes F1’s key weakness

Long-awaited wins for ex-Formula 1 drivers Marcus Ericsson and Kevin Magnussen in IndyCar and IMSA last weekend gave F1 a reminder of what it is missing. But with the new rules aimed at levelling the playing field, there’s renewed optimism that more drivers can have a rewarding result when their day of days comes

Formula 1
Jun 17, 2021
Castroneves: How I kept it under control to make Indy 500 history Prime

Castroneves: How I kept it under control to make Indy 500 history

Helio Castroneves’ overwhelming vivaciousness outside the cockpit belies a hardcore racer who knows how to plot his moves – and then recall it all for us. A day after his fourth Indy 500 win, Helio explained his tactics to David Malsher-Lopez.

IndyCar
Jun 2, 2021
How 'chess master' Castroneves cemented his Indy legend status Prime

How 'chess master' Castroneves cemented his Indy legend status

Helio Castroneves joined AJ Foyt, Al Unser and Rick Mears with the most Indianapolis 500 wins after sweeping around the outside of Alex Palou on the penultimate lap in a thrilling climax. In one race, he validated Michael Shank's and Jim Meyer's faith in him, and Helio himself discovered there's life after Penske after all.

IndyCar
Jun 1, 2021