Juncos unlikely to enter IndyCar full-time in 2017
Ricardo Juncos says his team will probably not step up to the Verizon IndyCar Series next season, but is very interested in running an extra car for an established team in the Indy 500.
Juncos Racing, which won the Pro Mazda title with Spencer Pigot in 2014, graduated to Indy Lights in 2015 – and again, with Pigot at the wheel – conquered Indy Lights in the team’s debut season in the category.
Since then, Ricardo Juncos has regularly stated his ambition to become an IndyCar team owner, but admits that the team’s expansion of its Speedway, Ind., raceshop has dominated his time recently. Confirming entries for the three series on the Mazda Road To Indy would be his priority, before considering options regarding IndyCar.
He told Motorsport.com: “We’re finishing a new raceshop which should be ready at the beginning or middle of October. There’s a lot of work to be done, a lot of meetings to go to as well as planning the team for other categories. That is very important.
“But I have had a very helpful talk with [CEO and president of Hulman and Company, parent company to IndyCar] Mark Miles, and he gave me some good information, and I have talked with team owners and I know drivers there. I’m just trying to learn as much as I can and gather useful information for going forward into IndyCar. It’s about, ‘How can I make this happen?’”
The Argentine, a former driver, said however that he would not be rushing into the Verizon IndyCar Series, because he was content building up his MRTI entries.
“I am going to take my time,” he said. “We have to be careful because we are still a small team, and I don’t want to make a mistake.
“I’m still young to be a team owner, so I’m already happy with where I am. Fourteen years ago, I had nothing; I just came here to explore opportunities and options, and I never expected to be where I am today. So I’m happy.
“Obviously I’m ambitious and competitive – I’m a human being! – so I want to progress. But I’m not making moves from desperation; I can go step by step and do it right when everything has come together.”
Juncos admitted that dipping a toe in the water by helping to run an extra car for an established IndyCar team at the Indianapolis 500 would be very appealing before committing to the Verizon IndyCar Series full-time.
“Exactly – like Sam Schmidt did, working with Chip Ganassi,” said Juncos. “I think the way Sam did that is pretty much the only way I can see myself starting this.
“So somehow I need to find a way to follow Sam’s strategy. Even doing just one race, there are many things to align and need to take place for it to happen in 2017. I don’t want to be on the grid as just a number: I want to have a strong entry; I want us to be good.
“But yes, it’s the best way to do it, and in fact it almost happened this year but we couldn’t make it work in time. But we will try again, and if it happens, then great, and if it doesn’t then, OK, like I say, I’m happy with what we do in junior formulas and we can wait another year for Indy.”
Asked if that suggests that IndyCar needs Juncos Racing more than vice-versa, Juncos laughed and said: “Well I don’t know if that’s true. I just know that I want to be in IndyCar one day, and if it’s next year, or 2018 or 2019, that doesn’t matter as much as doing it right.”
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