INDIANAPOLIS – Eight months ago, a team that has never been involved in racing before headed to the Indianapolis Motor Speedway with the ambition to make the 101st Running of the Indianapolis 500.
Harding Racing was a start up team just trying to get their feet wet in the Verizon IndyCar Series. Despite all the possible obstacles, early success found them.
Gabby Chaves would drive to a ninth place finish in the Indy 500. Then, two weeks later in Texas, they’d finish fifth. The team would make one more start in 2017 with a race at Pocono last August.
Since then though, they’ve had their eyes on a full season for 2018. On Friday, they announced just that. But, during a conference call, the team did state that there’s a possibility that they’d bring out a second car for select races in 2018 too.
“Ultimately our goal will be to expand to a two-car effort for the entire season,” said Brian Barnhart. “Obviously finances and sponsorship are driving that at this point in time, for the very reasons you’ve said.
“We’re not going to add a car or simply do a car for the sake of doing one unless it adds value. With the short sessions, with the limited testing, clearly multi-car teams have got advantages, but we’re not going to throw one out there unless it can be advantageous to Gabby and our primary effort in the first car. It’s got to be somebody that can help with the data, the input and the feedback and make it a value add to the team to do so.
“We think we’ve got some options down the road that we can perhaps expand into, but they don’t have it developed at this point in time. We still have an eye towards potentially a second car at Indianapolis, maybe a couple other races, and if the right situation would present itself, we most definitely would love to expand to a two-car effort full-time.”
The team is being very smart here. RLL spend a long time as a single car entry and it made them better. The three years of a single car entry for Graham Rahal made them to an annual championship contender and now giving them the resources to expand back to a two-car team. Harding is doing the same.
But, look for a veteran to step into the second car at some point this year with a possibility of two cars full time for them in 2019.