King needed reassurance from Rossi for IndyCar switch

New Ed Carpenter Racing driver Jordan King says he needed reassurance from former GP2 teammate Alexander Rossi about making the switch to IndyCar.

King needed reassurance from Rossi for IndyCar switch
Jordan King, MP Motorsport
J.R. Hildebrand, Ed Carpenter Racing Chevrolet
Jordan King, MP Motorsport
Alexander Rossi, Curb Herta - Andretti Autosport Honda
Alexander Rossi, Curb Herta - Andretti Autosport Honda
Jordan King, MP Motorsport
Jordan King, MP Motorsport
Spencer Pigot, Ed Carpenter Racing Chevrolet
J.R. Hildebrand, Ed Carpenter Racing Chevrolet

The pair raced together at GP2 squad Racing Engineering in 2015, before Rossi made his switch to IndyCar in 2016 with Andretti Autosport and went on to win the Indianapolis 500 in the same year.

King visited Sonoma in 2016 but only considered IndyCar after a disappointing Formula 2 season last year, eventually leading to a December visit to Indianapolis to meet team boss Ed Carpenter.

The Briton says that leaning on Rossi for advice about IndyCar helped remove his scepticism about the switch, which was confirmed on Thursday.

“I suppose it was more reassurance,” King said when asked about Rossi’s input. “There's always a bit of scepticism changing paths.

“Obviously for me, it's actually moving country and a couple of things like that, and someone like Alexander Rossi, he's done it, but the other way around. He came over to Europe and I raced with him and I was teammates with him.

“I kind of trust him and believe what he's saying, so I spoke to him quite a bit. From everything down to the car, how did the car drive, what does it feel like, all the way through to what's it like living in the U.S.

“So just filling in all the gaps was quite reassuring to speak to someone who has done it and I know his driving style and things like that, you know?”

ECR has oval testing plans for King

King will only drive the road and street courses in the 2018 season as part of his shared drive with Carpenter, but the team boss says there are plans to get King used to ovals.

The British driver has stated his long-term goal is a full-season drive in IndyCar, and Carpenter says that plays a part in the oval plans.

“There are no plans for Jordan to be doing any of the oval races, but we do have a plan and are working on plans to get him in the car on an oval, to start developing that part of his career,” he said.

“He wants to be able to run full-time at some point in IndyCar. So that was an important part of the process, knowing that we could get him in the car for some oval testing.

“We're still nailing down when exactly that'll be, but he will get the opportunity to do a little bit of oval testing to get his feet wet with that.”

Carpenter says it is unlikely that King would run at the Indianapolis 500 this year in a third ECR car, but did not totally rule out the opportunity.

“We don't have any third car plans,” he said. “If there's an opportunity that makes sense with Jordan, or anyone else for that matter, to run an extra car at Indy, we'll evaluate that. But it wasn't part of these discussions.”

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