Ireland’s Adam Carroll is gearing up for a number of races the US Indycar series, their equivalent of Formula One, writes John Kenny.
It was also recently announced the former A1 Grand Prix champion has signed to Andretti Autosport to drive a limited schedule of events in the second half of the season.
Carroll, who raced with Team Ireland in the now defunct A1 series hasn’t turned a wheel in anger since winning season four of the World Cup of Motorsport as he pushed hard to get into either Formula One or the Indycar championship.
The Irish driver had chances to move to a lower Formula, but the 28 year old has already competed for two seasons in GP2, one step down from F1, where he was a race winner, beating the likes of Lewis Hamilton who went onto win the 2008 F1 championship.
Carroll was linked to Formula One at one stage and had discussions with Manor, now Virgin Grand Prix and the Hispania team, but they failed to materialise despite his undoubted race craft.
‘It was all down to money. It would cost four or five million Euros to take part a season as a paid driver. I worked extremely hard to raise that money after winning the A1GP series and came up with nothing,’ said Carroll.
‘Having said that I believe that going to the US is the right path for me and I can’t wait to get out there.’
Carroll is a winner and Michael Andretti has recognised that fact in his decision to add the Irishman to his four car team as he has registered 41 victories, 83 podium finishes and 24 pole starts in Formula Renault Campus, Formula Ford, Formula 3, GP2 and A1GP.
It’s taken some time for the Irish driver to get a US drive after a move to F1 fell through, and at this moment Carroll will be only running in two races as well as being involved in an extensive testing programme with Andretti Autosport.
Andretti already have four contracted drivers in Danica Patrick - Marco Andretti, Tony Kanaan and Ryan Hunter and Raey who lies fourth in the points standings ahead of next week’s famous Indy 500.
Carroll had hoped to compete in the jewel of the Indycar crown, but he has missed qualifying for the event and budgetary restrictions have also not helped.
‘I would agree that my schedule is still pretty vague. We are working through the programme at the minute. You have to remember this is a busy team which runs four cars in the series and they are still working on a budget for the fourth car of Ryan Hunter Raey.
‘I sit in the middle of all that and we hope to have my programme sorted up before the Indy 500.’
Despite the fact that he has won in every series in which he competed, Carroll has budgetary problems which has led to him sitting on the sidelines for almost a year now.
Trying to gather a financial package in the current climate has proved to be a tough ask and because of that, it’s been difficult for him to make the step up in grade - that was until Michael Andretti came calling.
‘The amount of money I can contribute is nothing. I tried all over Ireland and came up with nothing so I’m only getting the shot in the car because Michael liked what he saw in me in A1.’
‘Everything is pretty fluid at the minute and there is a lot of positive stuff happening. Two races doesn’t sound a lot, but that’s were I’m starting from. The main thing is that I will be getting back into a racing car this year.’
‘The thing I have to do now is impress when I get the opportunity. I’ve been given the chance and that’s all I want.’
‘The goal for me is to get the full season next year.’
The real pity for Carroll is his lack of finance. He is a superb racer, a winner of the A1 Grand Prix series and at one time he was contracted to Honda’s Formula One team as a test and reserve driver.
He never got the chance to race in F1 and lack of budgets has held him back time and time again which is a real pity for a driver of his undoubted talent.
Finally he is in one of the world’s top Formula’s although with a limited programme and hopefully he can make an impression on the US racing scene.
‘I will get a chance to test with the team and the fact that I’m classed as a rookie will also help as I will get more of a run in the car than the regular drivers which give me a chance to give the team some feedback.
‘I do have options in lower Formula but I’ve been there and done that and that is why I haven’t been racing since we won A1.
‘The thing with American racing is that it rewards talent and that’s something I don’t have to worry about.’