March 5, 2023 8.00 am This story is over 15 months old

Lincolnshire racer Jack Harvey hoping to make history in IndyCar series

The IndyCar Series is back this weekend

By Local Democracy Reporter

Lincolnshire driver Jack Harvey is dreaming of a big year in the IndyCar Series as America’s beloved open-wheel racing competition begins.

The Series gets underway on the weekend of March 3, starting with the Firestone Grand Prix of St. Petersburg in Florida.

The pinnacle of IndyCar racing is the annual Indianapolis 500, a 500-mile, 200-lap race around the world famous Indianapolis Motor Speedway.

“Winning the Indy 500 makes you an immediate part of history, it’s why we take these risks behind the wheel,” Bassingham-born Jack said.

“Winning there puts you in a completely different category of racer. My first 500 in 2017 was pretty overwhelming because I’d never seen anything like it before.

“It’s a huge place but it can feel so so small when 250,000 people descend on it. During pre-race spectacles I could feel my eyes watering, and I think it was just the raw emotion of working my whole life for this kind of moment.”

Jack Harvey is yet to break the top 10 overall points standings in his six years of IndyCar Series racing, but has high hopes for the upcoming 2023 season, and his aiming to compete for more podiums this time around.

Jack Harvey is the pride of Lincolnshire motorsport, growing from Bassingham to the Indy 500. | Photo: Jack Harvey

The consumption of IndyCar is a national pastime in America, gripping the country with its intense wheel-to-wheel racing at the hands of some of the world’s quickest drivers.

It sees 12 teams and a maximum of 33 drivers, including part-timers who only race at events such as the Indianapolis 500, compete for the IndyCar Series crown each year, reaching top speeds of 235mph.

Many draw parallels between IndyCar and Formula One given that they are both open-wheel racing series with cars that share resemblances in design and structure.

However, the differences are vast, as Lincolnshire-born IndyCar Series racer Jack Harvey explains.

“F1 is a worldwide racing series where all teams produce their own cars and it’s largely done in-house”, Jack says.

“In IndyCar all the cars are essentially bought from the same manufacturer, so when you look up the field they are all pretty much the same cars.

“Honda and Chevy are the main engine manufacturers, and the parity is much closer between cars in IndyCar than it is in F1 as a result.

“In Formula 1, it is very rare you’ll see a Haas out-qualify a Red Bull, for instance.

“The difference between the fastest and slowest cars are much greater in F1 than IndyCar. There’s 25 people on the grid with the same opportunity to win as you.”

Victory at the Indy 500 is considered one of racing’s highest possible accolades. It will this year take place on Sunday, May 28.

IndyCar has served up a life that Jack can hardly believe, given his humble roots in Bassingham, Lincolnshire.

He has befriended multiple drivers in the world of motorsport, including Formula 1 star Lando Norris, and he got the chance to meet double F1 world champion Fernando Alonso at the 2017 Indianapolis 500.

Jack with two-time Formula 1 World Champion Fernando Alonso at the 2017 Indianapolis 500. | Photo: Jack Harvey

Jack races for Rahal Letterman Lanigan Racing, best known for being co-owned by world famous television host David Letterman.

The Lincolnshire racer has met with and engaged with Letterman on multiple occasions since he joined the team, including striking up an unlikely bond over quirky British comedy troupe The Mighty Boosh.

“One of the times I chatted with David he asked me if I had seen The Mighty Boosh, because I’m English.

“We laughed and joked about how much we love it which was properly mad, I kept looking at him like ‘you are literally David Letterman’ – it was a surreal moment.

“When I had my crash in Texas, he sent me a lovely voice note and kept checking in with me to make sure I was okay.

“His involvement in the team isn’t too high on a day-to-day basis as he is a co-owner, but he loves the sport and loves competing. He’s from Indiana so he knows how much the Indy 500 means.”

There aren’t many faster behind an open wheel racer than Jack Harvey. | Photo: Jack Harvey

Such is the nature of motorsport, you find yourself alone out on that track – but the work behind the scenes and the team around you are vital to success in IndyCar.

Jack says of this: “Racing is both a team and individual sport. The drivers make the difference on track, but without a great car underneath them they can’t.

“There are so many elements of racing that are out of your control, from pit stops to manufacturing and engineering, but that’s what makes it so rewarding when you do achieve something.

“You know that lots of people have helped you along the way. Last year wasn’t what we were hoping for and we’ve spent a lot of time understanding what went wrong.

“There’s a really great atmosphere in the team because everyone wants to be held accountable, there’s no finger pointing and collectively we look to fix the issues.

“Competing for podiums again is the aim, it’s down to us to make the best decisions we can.”

Sky Sports will be showing every IndyCar qualifying session and race this season for UK fans, and you can catch Jack Harvey on the track in St. Petersburg, Florida this weekend.

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