A single-car Honda team with a rookie behind the wheel. Nonetheless, Gabby Chaves goes into the Indianapolis 500 with optimism.
Gabby Chaves is one of two rookies attempting the 2015 running of the Indianapolis 500, doing so with Bryan Herta Autosport. The 21-year-old is the reigning Indy Lights champion and 2014 winner of the Lights race on the IMS oval.
Consistency is key
After five races, the Colombian's best finish is 15th, but the rookie has also completed all but one of the 409 laps run thus far in 2015. Discussing the value of consistency as a new driver, "It's so important the first year. If you don't get the mileage, the laps, then you aren't going to learn nearly as much. It's important to minimize the mistakes and it's really the only way you can move forward," said Chaves.
An uphill battle
Going into the month of May, it's been a struggle to attain results for the single-car Honda operation.
"We've had speed, the pace, it just really hasn't come together to get us the result," Chaves told Motorsport.com. "We've been up the charts in practice this year, just need to work on consistency. We are also struggling a bit on the engine and aero kit side, but all those guys are working hard there so we can catch up. Right now, that's our biggest setback. A good day is 12th and struggling is 20th. On the other side (for Chevy teams), a bad day is 12th."
I'm very confident and comfortable with the superspeedway aero package.
"At this point in the season, we are limited by the package, but that doesn't stop us from going out there and trying to win races," Chaves said with optimism.
"We want to perform."
Outside of the visible gap between the Honda and Chevrolets, BHA and Gabby face another challenge. They are a single-car operation and will be one of only three teams throwing just one entry at the 500 (The other two being Dreyer and Reinbold-Kingdom Racing with Townsend Bell and Lazier Racing Partners with Buddy Lazier).
"There's both sides to it. As a one-car team, its hard to get the right amount of analysis and really, we can't try the things a two, three, or four-car team can. As a rookie, it's good to have everyone working with you and trying only to help you, but there's definitely a disadvantage."
After the May 3rd test where he timed in 13th, Chaves told Motorsport.com he's "very confident and comfortable with the superspeedway aero package."
To my surprise, he then proclaimed, "I think Hondas could even be the ones to beat for the 500."