Trevor Carlin, Indy Lights and legendary European junior open-wheel team owner, says he’s not intending to make his entry into the Verizon IndyCar Series a collaborative effort.
Although Carlin was hoping to take over the KV Racing operation last winter, when he couldn’t make it work financially, he elected not to graduate his team to the top level. He says that going into the series paired with another team holds no appeal.
“I’m not interested, it has to be our people,” he told Motorsport.com. “It’s our DNA, whether that’s right or wrong; that’s how we do things.
“We would obviously hire people from existing IndyCar teams, but we wouldn’t do a partnership with a team. We’ve got a good way of working in everything we do from Formula 4 up to GP2 when we’ve done it. If we can transfer that to IndyCar, I believe we will do a good job.
“We turned up and won our first [Lights] race. We won on an oval in our first year and nearly won the Freedom 100 and we won the championship beating Schmidt and Andretti who’ve done it forever.
“Okay it’s a lot harder to beat them in IndyCar, but given the right resources and the right drivers, I don’t see why we can't beat them.
“To me the team in the USA and in the world which I most respect is Penske. Because everything they do, they do to the highest level. That’s who you got to aspire to be and to beat. It’s just incredible.
“Everything about Roger himself and the people who run his team, that’s how you do it. If I could ever be in the pitlane on a pit stand next to Roger Penske, I would think, “We’re alright, we’ve done good.” To emulate what he's achieved as a team is staggering.
“There’s that fabulous picture on your website of Roger sitting at his desk with his [Baby Borg Warner] trophies. That says it all.”
On the subject of whether he was getting any closer to IndyCar, he said: “There’s no timeframe on it really. We don’t have a huge pot of money to dig into to set up an IndyCar team, so we’ve got to find a way of doing it. We’ve got to find a partner to help us with that.
“When the stars align hopefully it will happen. It could be 2018, 2019, it could be 2020, it could be never. It’s something we want to do and we’ll do everything we can. It’s not the sort of thing you can dip your toes in and have a look. It’s too expensive.
“We don't want to turn up for six months. We want to do it properly. It took us five years from our first thoughts about Indy Lights to actually doing it. If it takes five years to get to IndyCar, then so be it.”
This patient attitude means Carlin will resist the temptation of making an Indy 500 one-off as his rival team-owner Juncos Racing has done this year.
“I don’t see how that makes any sense, really,” says Carlin. “If you want to be a super professional IndyCar team you’ve got to build a crew of people together. I can’t get five million dollars together just to do one race but you've got to pay wages and testing and that stuff. It’s got to be for a whole season.”
Despite the delay in his participation, Carlin says there’s been no reduction in his ambition to join IndyCar and compete in the Indy 500. “Absolutely, I've always wanted to do it before we even went there,” he said. “That was one of my dreams to compete and try to win the Indy 500.
“Like Fernando [Alonso] is doing, we want to do it in our own little way as well. We can’t quite do the same Triple Crown as him but we have won races in Monaco, we’ve won single-seater races at Le Mans, so if we could win a single-seater race at Indianapolis then that would be our own version of the triple crown.
“It’s our number one ambition that’s achievable. That’s one that we would really strive to do. If we could tick that one off before we retire, that would be nice.”