Sean Rayhall has won two Indy Lights races in his rookie season this year.
Sean Rayhall didn't compete in the Lone Star Le Mans at Circuit of the Americas after an accident in practice put a hole in the tub of his PC car near the left front suspension. However, it did give the Georgia native some more time to get his plans together for 2016.
It’s interesting, as a race car driver who doesn’t have any money and comes from nothing, you have to scrape together whatever you can
“I have a lot of meetings. Honestly at this point, Indy Lights is attractive to chase the dream, [I’m] speaking to some factories that are attractive which is another dream, and ultimately as a young driver you want the Indy 500, you want the Le Mans, you want all these things, so to have opportunities to go different ways is the goal, I’m still talking to a lot of people, nothing’s been signed and just trying to make a decision that’s good for my career,” Rayhall told Motorsport.com
“Most importantly, where I can be at and I feel like I can win. I’m young and all I care about right now is winning.”
Hoping to stick with 8Star
Winning is something that Rayhall has a good bit of experience with this year. In his Indy Lights races this year, he won two races with 8Star Motorsports, one of them at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway road course and the other at Mid-Ohio.
“After the engine issues (at Barber), four out of seven races we were on the podium, those are top guys, those are guys that have won in F3, you know that have come over here to go to IndyCar. That series is very, very, very competitive right now in that with no testing, no prior races, it’s great for my fans and great for the team,”
“8Star is definitely in the cards [for 2016], we’re talking, we have some people interested in backing our Indy Lights program, which is good. That’s one of those things that if a deal came there, there’s a lot of loyalty, a lot of loyalty between me and all the guys over there, [even with] other stuff that’s come up in meetings and test drive deals. There’s a lot of stuff being worked out that hopefully we get something good and hopefully we get even more phone calls.”
Finding other outlets to fund his racing career
Of course the phone calls he’s referring to are sponsorship calls. Speed ultimately costs money. The question is, how fast do you want to go? Rayhall has found interesting ways for people to back him, utilizing the popular crowdfunding website GoFundMe as a way to raise money for his various racing endeavors in 2015.
“It’s interesting, as a race car driver who doesn’t have any money and comes from nothing, you have to scrape together whatever you can, and if that means GoFundMe or calling small sponsors for little nickels and having tons of stickers on the car, you’ve got to do what you’ve got to do. I’m really appreciative of everybody that’s come on board and it’s really amazing that I’ve been able to get the results as well.”
IndyCar test with Ganassi
Despite that lack of funding, his results were enough that for the development driver test that IndyCar had over at Sonoma Raceway, Chip Ganassi’s team gave him the opportunity to test Charlie Kimball’s car.
“The Novo Nordisk car that we were in was awesome, Mike Hull, everyone at Ganassi, Brad Goldberg, everyone was very helpful, made it seem like an easy fit, just hopping straight in straight away. They were impressed and in general that was probably one of the coolest things to happen [to me], so I was just very fortunate to get the call and it was an honor. It’s an honor to test for Ganassi and to just be on their email list and be talking to them and Mike Hull checking in on me every week, you know, it’s an honor.”
The biggest question is, if Rayhall had massive backing come his way, where would he take it?
“IndyCar - I love Le Mans, but IndyCar.”