AJ Foyt Racing announced on Wednesday that defending Indy Lights champion Kyle Kirkwood will race in the No.14 ROKiT Chevrolet for the 2022 NTT IndyCar Series season joining Dalton Kellett at the team.
Speaking about the news, Team President Larry Foyt commented saying:
We are thrilled to welcome Kyle to the team. “Obviously, he has been very successful on his climb through the Road to Indy Championships and his record speaks for itself. This deal came together rather quickly, but I’ve already been impressed with how Kyle thinks about racing and the maturity he seems to have for such a young driver. The NTT INDYCAR Series is as competitive as ever, and the challenges are great, but we feel Kyle will be a great asset as we take on those challenges and work to grow as a team
Kyle Kirkwood who is the only driver to have the championship in each of the junior categories on the IndyCar ladder commented saying:
“I actually met Larry [Foyt] for the first time in 2018 at Road America when I was driving in USF2000 with Cape Motorsports. “He was the first person in the INDYCAR paddock to show me around the car and explain the dynamics of what it takes to be an Indy car team and driver. From that moment, I felt very comfortable with the atmosphere of the team and now it has come to fruition that I will be driving the No. 14. It’s hard to explain in words the excitement I have to drive for such an experienced and legendary team. I know I will be filling some very big shoes, but I think it’s the perfect timing and group to be able to do so.
“Considering I have 19 years of experience driving, and it’s all led to this moment to becoming a full time Indy car driver — It’s truly a dream come true. “It’s incredible seeing the completely unexpected path I took in previous years blossom into something I’ve always hoped for as a kid in karting.
The Floridian commented saying:
What I’ve learned in my three Indy car tests is that the Indy Lights car and the Indy car are not massively different,” Kirkwood explained. “As we’ve seen with many drivers, it’s quite an easy transition. The best thing that you can take away from the RTI is the track experience. With minimal time during weekends, it’s crucial to maximize practice, having the track experience eliminates a period of time spent learning so you can solely focus on the car and driving.
“The biggest difference I’ve noticed in my tests is the tire. The Firestone tire creates a lot more grip. There are other differences, like steering weight, downforce and braking capabilities, but all of those are just a nice step forward from the Indy Lights car.”