Being part of the ultra successful CGR squad was a serious eye-opener. I was in at the deep end but with a huge amount of guidance from their hugely experienced engineers and Dario as a mentor.
My results were up and down. It was a frustrating season in many ways, but I certainly wasn’t expecting it to be easy and I learned a lot. It was great to be able to carry over my understanding of ovals from my year in Indy Lights – in fact, my best qualifying of the year was fourth at Iowa, where I’d won in Lights last year. My best race result – seventh – also came on an oval, at Phoenix early in the year.
Finishing the Indy 500 on the lead lap, in 15th but less than half a minute behind the winner, was pretty satisfying, too. It’s one of the biggest races of the year, right up there with the Monaco GP and Le Mans 24 Hours, and pounding round the banking at 220mph-plus for three hours in front of a huge crowd is a real thrill.
I’d love another chance to race in IndyCar, particularly at The Brickyard. I felt that in the last quarter of the year the speed and consistency was really starting to come. Unfortunately, whenever I got qualifying nailed something happened in the race. I’m in talks with Ganassi about a second year. There are also suggestions that Trevor Carlin might graduate to IndyCar via the acquisition of an existing team. I’d love to see that happen, but whether it will do so in time remains to be seen.