IndyCar move allows Carlin to stop "losing drivers"
Carlin team boss Trevor Carlin says that the team's new IndyCar programme means it will have a clear career ladder from 2018 onwards.
The British team's IndyCar move marks its first top-tier single-seater foray in its history, having run its own academy and fielding cars in the British Formula 3 and Formula 4 championships, as well as European F3 and Formula 2.
Carlin will also continue with Indy Lights in 2018, creating a career ladder from junior formulas to IndyCar.
Carlin told Motorsport.com that it can now keep drivers it would previously let go onto Formula 1, having helped the careers of F1 drivers such as champions Nico Rosberg and Sebastian Vettel.
"That's always been our plan really," said Carlin. "It's been working already it's just that now finally we can keep the drivers when they get to that last rung.
"We always lose drivers to F1 because it's physically impossible for any sort of junior independent team to get into F1 as the costs to enter barriers are just ridiculous.
"But IndyCar is achievable and blimey we've achieved it."
Motorsport.com understands that Carlin will run two cars in Indy Lights next year, downsizing from four cars, with staff moving to its IndyCar programme.
Carlin ran Matheus Leist last year, who has since moved to AJ Foyt Racing to partner Tony Kanaan, as well as Neil Alberico, Zach Claman De Melo - who has been linked with an IndyCar move - and Garth Rickards.
Carlin adds that the team's experience in running spec cars in junior categories will help its maiden IndyCar season.
IndyCar will use a universal aerokit for 2018 fitted to the series' Dallara IR-12. The choice between Honda or Chevrolet engines will be the only differentiator between the team's cars.
Carlin says the move to the new aerokit will help his outfit next year.
"Being a junior [category] team, we don't have a massive design department," said Carlin.
"We have got a design department but it's effectively one or two guys. To step into something like Formula 1 or LMP1 is just not within our realm.
"We've got a very good research and development department but we don't have the funding or the size of the company to build and design a competitive racing car.
"But to run and operate pretty much a spec car, is what we've done. We've been doing it for nearly 20 years now so we're well versed in what it takes to get a car up to speed quickly."
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