Sam Schmidt says he intends to run a third car in the Indy 500 again next year but hopes to add some other races to its roster, prior to a full-time third entry in 2018.
ARROW Electronics, which has not only been primary sponsor on James Hinchcliffe’s Schmidt Peterson-Honda for the past two years but has also developed the semi-autonomous car that Schmidt drives on a regular basis, has apparently shown interest in further strengthening its bond with SPM. Part of that plan has been to expand its partnership with the team, to the extent of part-funding a third car.
Schmidt told Motorsport.com: “A third car for Indy next year is definitely part of the plan, and we could run that car in a couple more races. We’re trying to build the commercial support over time and hopefully have, in 2018, a second technology-backed car. I think we can get there by then.”
Asked if he’d want a rookie for this third car in 2017, such as SPM’s primary challenger in Indy Lights this year, Santiago Urrutia, or whether he’d seek an experienced racer such as Oriol Servia who raced a third SPM car in this year's Indy 500, Schmidt said: “It’s hard to speculate right now.
“You can make a list of preferences and put both experienced racers and rookies on the list, but until you get to that stage of hiring, you can't guarantee who’s available. The drivers who you thought you'd want a month earlier may no longer be available.
“Plus, if we want to run the car at Indy and three or four other races, we'd ideally want the same driver for all of them, so again we have to look at who can feasibly do that. And the sponsors sometimes want to have some influence on that decision, so that’s something else you have to consider when the time comes.”