Juncos Hollinger Racing head into this weekend’s NTT INDYCAR SERIES season-opening Firestone Grand Prix of St Petersburg presented by RP Funding having undergone a transformation over the off-season.
The team led by Ricardo Juncos and Brad Hollinger has expanded to a two car full-time programme with Argentinian Agustin Canapino making his NTT INDYCAR SERIES race debut in the No.78 Chevrolet alongside Callum Ilott who returns to the team this year.
Looking ahead to his debut season in INDYCAR, Canapino said:
I think the team is doing very well after very good pre-season sessions at Thermal and Sebring. Personally, I will go into this weekend’s first race with the same philosophy I had during testing: to go step-by-step and learn. There is a lot for me to adjust to.
“Coming from a career in Argentine touring cars, everything is very different – particularly the high downforce and the carbon brakes on the INDYCAR. Also, the physicality of driving these cars is an enormous challenge. The car is demanding and the races are long.
“It will be a great honour for me to represent Argentina in a championship that has many of the best drivers in the world, and is one of the most demanding and competitive categories in motorsports.”
Callum Ilott heads into this season aiming to build on an extremely strong 2022 season and speaking ahead of this weekend’s race in St Pete the Englishman said:
“Testing was promising and positive. I think we’ve made a few small gains compared to last year and that’s made a difference. I feel in a good position and more comfortable and confident with the car. Having been a rookie last year, I’m coming into the new season understanding the process of the race weekend and with a good idea of the strong and weak points of our car. That makes it easier to prepare for what’s to come.
“Looking at St. Pete, qualifying will give us a good idea of the pace we have out of the box and what’s possible. If we put the qualifying together, we should be on for a good race. I’ll be pushing for the top-ten straight away – and maybe even more. We’ll see.”
Ricardo Juncos, Team Principal and co-owner of JHR said:
The results in testing were very pleasing for our team. Callum and Agustín clearly have very different racing experience but what we’ve discovered is their driving style and feedback is quite similar. That’s a huge advantage for the engineers when they’re comparing data and analyzing set-ups to get the best out of each car. We’re feeling very good about the work we’ve done so far and we hope it continues at St. Pete.
“With Callum, we’ll be trying to start the season in the same positive way that he finished at Laguna Seca where he almost took pole position. It was a very strong period and we’ll be working hard to make sure all the team can work together and build towards that kind of speed again.
“For Agustin, it will be a very different approach. He’ll try to learn as much as he can and do as many laps as possible at St. Pete. That will be a great starting point for him going forward in the championship and gives his #78 car a solid foundation as we continue our work to be a top team in INDYCAR.”