Mikhail Aleshin is preparing for what will be his first Indianapolis 500.
Mikhail Aleshin is not only a rookie on the Verizon IndyCar Series but he’s a first-time visitor to the United States and is enjoying the experience.
Upon coming to the US, his first stop was for a seat fitting in Indianapolis followed by a test in sunny Sebring, Florida followed by a long, cold winter spent in Indianapolis.
Arriving in the US wearing shorts, it didn’t take him long to realize winter’s here were harsh. “I didn’t even have a sweater when I got off the plane. I was like this is the same as in Russia but even colder than in Moscow.”
Asked why he had never visited the US, he stated, “I had never had an opportunity to race here, so I had no point to come here.” Using a simulator and relying upon the guidance of teammate Simon Pagenaud, Aleshin has adapted quickly, owing to his road-course experience. But he lacks oval-track experience and his first oval race will be the Indianapolis 500.
“The Indy 500 is very popular in Europe and everybody in the world knows about this race,” Aleshin said. “When I took my rookie test I understood why Indy is so special. It is an amazing place and everyone is driving so fast. I am far from the limit, but we have a lot of time to work on it. I think I really like the oval stuff, and the race should be special.”
As for the most notable races in the world, Aleshin ranks Indianapolis 500, the 24 Hours of LeMans and the Grand Prix of Monaco as the top-three events worldwide.
In three IndyCar races with his Schmidt Peterson Motorsports team, Aleshin has held his own earning 12th in the St. Petersburg opener, garnering sixth at Long Beach and falling to 22nd after a run-in with Sebastian Bourdais at the recent Barber race. But the Indianapolis 500 will be Aleshin’s biggest challenge, one that he is looking forward to.