ÀJ Foyt Racing’s Santino Ferrucci, the driver of the No.14 Sexton Properties Chevrolet, says that the team learned a lot from their first year together in 2023 that they can use to help to move them forward for this year. Speaking to Paddock Eye during a Zoom call on Tuesday morning, Ferrucci said there were so many things last season that they should have done better as a team at the track.
Ferrucci says that the team has collectively recognized those things, and to make them better is a real game changer for them. he says that it is a case of rolling off the trailer and qualifying better at each event, so much better for us.
When it comes to his expectations and goals for the 2024 NTT INDYCAR SERIES season, Ferrucci told me that he wants to fight to be in the top ten in the championship and to be more consistent with that this year and that this is a target that is very achievable for the team. Indy will be Indy; we must stick to what we are doing there. I really want to win that race.
We need to keep progressing and we can’t just turn up like we did last year, we have to keep pushing. I want to win the race and definitely want more out of it. We can’t get ahead of ourselves, as it is much harder for a more minor team to recover.
Regarding his new teammate, Sting Ray Robb, Santino Ferrucci said he hasn’t worked with him a lot and is still learning and green; he is definitely very involved. Listening and following along and is very eager, which is good. It is nice to have that. He is very open to learning from me, which I think is good, but obviously, I don’t have all the answers.
It will be a very interesting year; he brings great energy to the team and helps bring the team together regarding the crew for the No.14 Chevrolet. Ferrucci said that it is his understanding that James Schnables will serve as his lead race engineer in 2024, while Team President Larry Foyt will continue to call Ferrucci’s race strategy.
Reflecting on his and the team’s performance at the Indianapolis 500 last year, where they finished in third place, Ferrucci said, ‘Man, that whole month for me. Now I have done five in my head and come close to winning two. There is such an art to figuring out what you want from the track, and it was nice to start fourth last year. I would love to run the same race this year, try to mirror what I did, and go for a podium again.
Ferrucci confirmed that James (Schnables) would be his race engineer and that Larry (Foyt) would call the strategy for him.
When it comes to the races away from the Indianapolis 500, Santino Ferrucci is looking forward to the return of the Milwaukee Mile, where he has not raced before. He is very much looking forward to it. He has heard much from the other drivers who have previously raced there.
Ferrucci said that he is really excited about what the series is doing with the downforce levels on short ovals, and he is excited to see what the road course package can do on the likes of the Milwaukee Mile and the likes of Gateway Motorsports Park.
When it comes to the introduction to the new hybrid system, when asked if it will be similar to the one Formula One uses, Santino said no, it is different because the INDYCAR hybrid system doesn’t utilize a battery.
He is unsure what the hybrid system will be like, but he has spoken to Will Power of Team Penske a little bit, and Power seems to like it. Ferrucci said that he will be testing the new hybrid system next month. Ferrucci is excited about its introduction and adding another element, and it will make the cars a bit more driver-focused on how you use it and how you re-gen.
We are moving forward, and I would prefer hybrid road cars rather than fully electric.
When it comes to Penske technical partnership, Ferrucci said that it is huge for a small team like AJ Foyt Racing to have access to the same data and setup sheets as those used by Josef Newgarden, Will Power, and Scott McLaughlin, and this will be extremely beneficial to the team, particularly for the month of May and the 108th running of the Indianapolis 500 presented by Gainbridge which takes place on May 26.
Ferrucci said that the things Penske brings to the table are massive for AJ Foyt Racing. Ferrucci said that the Foyt team is so small that they basically consist of the lunch crew from Arrow McLaren.
Penske has been such a huge help man behind-the-scenes stuff. I now have essentially three teammates, and I have found myself working off Will as we have a similar driving style. Those three guys are all very different.
Going to Nashville is such a big event, and we hype it up so much that it is the best decision to have the year’s final race there this season; Laguna doesn’t have the same energy level as Laguna Seca. I am super stoked, as we get to enjoy the city and the race, and it will be something racing up Broadway.
When it comes to the Thermal Club Challenge, Ferrucci says the Thermal Challenge is fun to get together, but he wishes that the prize money for that was more consistent. He is unsure how Penske Entertainment will do that, but he enjoys going to Thermal as it is a paradise for car lovers.
The opening race of the 2024 NTT INDYCAR SERIES season, the Firestone Grand Prix of St Petersburg, presented by RP Funding, takes place in less than a month.