Carlin sign Alberico for 2016 Indy Lights Series Neil Alberico will race with Carlin in the 2016 Indy Lights Series presented by Cooper Tires. The 23 year-old American will continue his career on the Mazda Road to Indy, after finishing the 2015 season as Pro Mazda vice-champion. Alberico joins already announced Carlin drivers Ed Jones…
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Serralles joins Carlin for Indy Lights
Carlin are pleased to announce that Ed Jones will remain with the Indy Lights presented by Cooper Tires team for the upcoming 2016 season. Following an outstanding debut in the 2015 series the British racer won the three opening races of the season and was in contention for the title until the very last round. Jones will be looking to go one step further with the knowledge he has gained during his first season racing in America.
Moving with Carlin across the pond to compete in the Indy Lights championship following a strong campaign with the team in Europe, Jones enjoyed a stunning debut with the team to win the opening three races of the season in dominant style; Jones then went on to claim a further four podiums.
Jones, an Indy Lights rookie, was a regular front runner throughout the course of the season and placed himself perfectly throughout to ensure that he was in contention for the Drivers’ title at the end of the season. Jones finished the year as the third highest placed driver and will be looking forward to a 2016 season as a clear championship contender with more experience of the American circuits.
Jones said of the upcoming season, “Continuity isn’t something which you get to enjoy too often in junior motor racing but when you can achieve it, for sure it is a help. Both the team and I know each other very well. I have built a good understanding with the engineers and I feel we work well together. We all have a season under our belt now and we have all raised the bar and will be pushing very hard for more success in 2016.
The goal for 2016 is to win the Indy Lights championship. I learnt a huge amount in 2015 and feel that I have a great base to go for the championship in 2016. I have a great relationship with my team Carlin and I believe in them completely. Carlin as a team have achieved a great deal but they haven’t won a championship in US motor racing and I want to be the driver who delivers that.”
Racing director Trevor Carlin added, “We’re delighted that Ed remains with the team for the 2016 season. He showed great faith in moving over from Europe with us for our first season in Indy Lights and demonstrated to everyone how competitive he was in winning the first three races of the season. In his rookie season in the US and having never visited most of the tracks before, Ed did a spectacular job to still be in contention for the title at the season finale. With a season of Indy Lights behind us there are undoubtedly things that team and driver have learnt together and we aim to put these lessons to good use in 2016 with the title clearly being the aim.”
Max Chilton took another competitive second place finish in Mid-Ohio on Sunday, in the second Indy Lights race of the weekend. It was a tough weekend for Ed Jones however, the 20 year-old took another ninth place in race two, but remains well in the hunt for the championship after similarly tough weekends for his championship rivals.
The Mid-Ohio Sports Car Course delivered yet another eventful race yesterday, as the penultimate round of the season drew to a close. The scene was set for an exciting fight between championship Jack Harvey and Jones, starting first and second respectively. Chilton meanwhile started from fifth.
At the green flag it was Jones who had the upper hand, the Carlin man stealing through into the lead ahead of Harvey while Chilton maintained fifth. At the front it remained close lap after lap between Jones and Harvey, some close racing resulted in light contact that both drivers survived early on, until heavier contact just over half way through the race that saw Jones serving a drive through penalty and Harvey in the pits for a new front wing.
Chilton meanwhile was keeping clear of any incidents and quietly making his way through the field to his second podium of the weekend. Running in second place, Chilton at times looked as though he could challenge race leader Sean Rayhall, with a determined effort in the final laps to close the gap.
Despite now being down the order, Harvey and Jones were still battling, although now for ninth place, which Jones took at the chequered flag, ahead of Harvey. Chilton crossed the line to take his second runner up spot of the weekend, making it three podiums from the last three races for the British driver.
With just one event remaining featuring a double header at Mazda Raceway in California, Jones lies second in the championship, just 12 points behind second placed man Spencer Pigot and 18 points behind Harvey.
Speaking about second place in Mid-Ohio, Chilton said, “We’re doing well at the moment both on ovals and off. Although we struggled at the start of the weekend the team gave me a car to do the job in the races. Race two was very similar to race one, I tried to play it smart, made a couple of overtaking moves and had some good luck as well. It’s nice to leave a weekend that we thought at first was going to be difficult with two second places.”
Team mate Jones, added, “My focus now is on the championship. No one expected us to be in contention to win in our first season, so I have nothing to lose. It wasn’t the ideal weekend by any means but we head into the last race of the season still in the running.”
The Indy Lights drivers will face a long wait until the season finale at the Mazda Raceway Laguna Seca from 10 – 13 September.
Max Chilton made his way through the field this afternoon in the Indy Lights presented by Cooper Tires race in Mid-Ohio. The British racer started from sixth but took second in an eventful race for the championship leaders. Team mate Ed Jones crossed the line ninth, but recorded the second fastest time to claim a front row grid slot for race two tomorrow.
After Jones showed impressive pace in practice yesterday, it was a slightly disappointing qualifying session for the Carlin team this morning. Chilton managed to qualify in sixth while Jones was 10th, with neither driver completely happy with car set-up.
As the racing action got underway this afternoon though at the Mid-Ohio Sports Car Course, it was Jones’ championship rivals that suffered misfortune, both Jack Harvey and Spencer Pigot making contact and falling out of potential podium finishes and down the order. With his rivals in the pits for repairs, Jones had plenty to do running in ninth.
Chilton meanwhile, fresh from his Iowa win was making up places, the Brit had moved up one place at the start and was up to fourth after Harvey and Pigot pitted. Chilton closed on third placed man Shelby Blackstock and passed the American at the restart after a full course yellow for the stranded car of Ethan Ringel. Now running in third, Chilton was about to make up another place as Felix Serralles pulled off track with an apparent mechanical problem, and duly took second behind leader RC Enerson.
Jones meanwhile had a championship on his mind and running in eighth place was racing a race of strategy. With neither of his championship rivals scoring big points, Jones had little to lose, so pitted for new Cooper Tires in an attempt to better his grid slot for tomorrow’s race two.
With starting positions for Sunday’s race set by today’s fastest laps, Jones wasted no time in making good use of his new tyres and was on a mission to put himself at the front of the field. Still running in front of Harvey who was several laps down Jones set the second fastest lap of the race, although pole for race two went to the recovering Harvey.
At the front Chilton crossed the line to take second with no pressure from behind. Speaking about his race, the Carlin man said, “It was a fun race. I really enjoy this track, it’s quite like a British circuit in many ways; you can’t afford to go off and there’s lots of undulations, it’s a bit like Oulton Park. We’ve struggled a bit with the set-up this weekend but the track seems to have changed a little this afternoon and the car came to me. It was one of those races where everything goes to plan, the car felt good and I made a couple of good overtaking manoeuvres. It was an enjoyable race.”
Race two will conclude the Indy Lights action this weekend at 10:30 local time tomorrow.
Max Chilton took his first Indy Lights victory this afternoon and led home a Carlin 1-2 at the Iowa Speedway as Ed Jones took a strong second place to bolster his championship campaign. Chilton led for the majority of the race, only relinquishing the lead briefly to team mate Jones while in traffic.
Both Chilton and Jones made the perfect rolling start as the race got underway while behind there were several changes for position. While it was close at the front, with just a second covering Chilton, Jones and third placed man RC Enerson, the Carlin men never really looked under any intense pressure.
As the lap numbers clocked up, Chilton held a steady advantage at the front, just over one second ahead of Jones who in turn was just over two and a half seconds ahead of Enerson. One significant change of position came at the half way point when Jones took the lead from Chilton on lap 50, after the leader found himself caught up behind Felix Serralles who was a lap behind. With Jones now leading, Serralles was still proving hard to pass and the pace only increased again once Serralles visited the pits.
After Serralles took to the pits, the top five were almost nose to tail, while Chilton had stayed close to his team mate. Pushing hard, Chilton took the lead back on lap 64 and he and Jones were able to pull away almost immediately from Enerson.
The racing was neutralised with a full course yellow but when the track went green again on lap 73, Chilton once again made the perfect start with Jones close behind in second. The team mates continued in that formation to the chequered flag, with Chilton taking victory by 6.1 seconds and Jones a comfortable 4.9 seconds ahead of Enerson who completed the podium.
A delighted Chilton said, “It was simply perfect. The team gave me the car to do it. I had a tricky 10 laps or so in the middle of the race when I got frustrated by traffic, but I know Ed experienced the same. I managed to take the lead again and the car was just great. I’d like to thank the team for all their work and once again this is dedicated to Jules as I know he would have driven the perfect race.”
Second placed man Jones commented, “I’m really pleased to take second, I think it shows how much me and the team have improved in our performance on the ovals. I thought maybe I had a chance at the win there for a few laps but Max was able to pass me. I was starting to pick up a slight vibration in the final few laps so I backed off a tiny bit, but I’m glad to have taken solid points for second place today.”
Trevor Carlin added, “I’m delighted for the drivers and the team, they have worked tirelessly to try and get a set up that works for the ovals and I think today proves that we’re getting there. I’m very pleased to see Max win, a victory he now adds to those in F3 and GP2 with the team. Obviously it’s also a good step forward for Ed in the championship as well. This definitely ranks up there in the team’s best victories.”
Max Chilton and Ed Jones were able to show the fast progress both they and their Carlin team are making in the Indy Lights Series presented by Cooper Tires today, qualifying first and second respectively at the Iowa Speedway. The Carlin pair surprised many in the paddock by taking a front row lock out on an oval circuit which has proved to be one of the biggest challenges for the European team in its debut season in America.
With each driver taking turns to set their best qualifying effort, Chilton and Jones were amongst the last drivers to take to the Iowa Speedway this afternoon. With championship leader Jack Harvey holding provisional pole, Jones was the first Carlin man on track, and despite having limited expience on ovals circuit took the P1 spot with just three drivers remaining.
Running slightly less downforce and feeling confident after two promising practice sessions around Iowa this weekend, Chilton was on form as he went out for his qualifying run. The British racer claimed the top spot and set a new track record in the process. As the chequered flag fell, Chilton remained P1 with his team mate just behind in P2.
Clearly emotional after the tragic passing of his former Marussia team mate Jules Bianchi overnight, Chilton told Indy Light’s pit lane commentator Rob Howden, “It hasn’t been a nice nine months and a very difficult day today. This one is dedicated to him.”
Speaking about the performance of his Carlin Dallara IL-15, Chilton added, “The team have done a great job to put together this car and having my team mate start alongside me is fantastic. Driving on ovals is so different to anything in Europe and with such limited experience I did feel a bit uncomfortable before. But I came here having missed the test and to be honest felt much more comfortable straight away. I think we have a good chance here.”
Speaking just before his team mate went out for his qualifying run, Jones said, “The car felt great, we made a lot of improvements and I made improvements on my side as well. The changes we made worked although maybe we could have got away with a little less wing, which I think Max will probably be running and will probably go quicker. But to come here and do this is a big team effort and we now have some more confidence on ovals.”
A delighted Trevor Carlin also praised the team, saying, “It’s been pretty tough on the engineers and drivers, they have been working really hard and to be honest we haven’t really understood ovals so what the boys have done here is really amazing, regardless of what happens later today.”
The racing action will get underway at 5.20 local time today.
Nelson Piquet Jr will join Carlin in this weekend’s Indy Lights race in Toronto. Piquet, who has experience across several categories of top level single seater racing, will join Ed Jones on the streets of Toronto, while Max Chilton is busy with Le Mans duties with Nissan.
Piquet is on top form this season, leading the FIA Formula E Championship with five podiums including two race wins to his name. Piquet is also racing in the Global RallyCross Championship, and scored a podium in the season opener two weeks ago.
For the multi-tasking Brazilian, this weekend will be Piquet’s first in Indy Lights, although the former F1 racer is no stranger to competing in the US having raced in the NASCAR Sprint Cup, Truck Series and Nationwide Series, scoring several wins across the latter two categories. Piquet can also include an F1 podium amongst his long list of achievements and was a regular points scorer during his F1 career between 2008 and 2009. This followed championship titles in the South American F3 and British F3 championship and vice championship honours in the GP2 Series.
Piquet joins Ed Jones in the Carlin line-up this weekend. Despite his rookie status 19 year-old Jones took the first three race victories of the season and lies second in the championship standings.
Speaking about his Indy Lights debut, Piquet said, “I’m really looking forward to my Indy Lights debut with Carlin. I’ve been competing in a broad range of racing over the past few years and this will be another new experience for me. I love open wheel racing but haven’t yet tried it in a US based series, so Toronto is going to be interesting. I can’t wait to get in the car and see what we can do.”
Trevor Carlin added, “In Max’s absence we wanted another strong driver to help push the team forward. We know that despite having no experience of the Indy Lights car, Nelson will push to the maximum from the start and that’s what we’re looking for this weekend. We’ve known Nelson since racing against him when he became British F3 Champion in 2004 and have seen many times since then his outright pace. He’s shown in Formula E he’s a master of street circuits and I’m excited to see what he and Ed can achieve together this weekend.”
Jones and Piquet will get two practice sessions on Friday to familiarise themselves with the Toronto street circuit before qualifying and race one on Saturday. The final race of the weekend will take place late on Sunday morning.
INDIANAPOLIS, IN – May 7, 2015 – Ed Jones is looking forward to seeing what the month of May has in store for him when he returns to the track this weekend for the Indy Lights Presented by Cooper Tires Mazda Grand Prix of Indianapolis, May 8-9.
Jones has started the weekend off well and had no problems learning the 2.439-mile, 14-turn Indianapolis Motor Speedway road course. He finished the first session P1 (75.7096 seconds / 115.975 mph) and then ended up third in the second session (75.6558 seconds / 116.057 mph).
“I have been looking forward to this month for a long time,” said Jones. “Now it’s finally here it’s been amazing to drive the GP track at the famed Indianapolis Motor Speedway. Carlin has given me a great car again and practice today went well so f I feel confident heading into qualifying and the races this weekend.”
The 20-year-old slipped to second in the championship standings two weeks ago after illness and bad luck saw him lose his 100% race win streak. Driving the No. 11 Toys for Boys Miami/United Rivers – Carlin machine, Jones has every intention of reclaiming the lead back when he starts Race 1 tomorrow, just seven points behind the leader, Spencer Pigot.
Jones, who was born and still resides in Dubai, has had a fantastic start to his American racing career. He dominated the season-opener at St. Petersburg by winning both races from pole, setting a new qualifying lap record and finishing the second race over nine seconds ahead of second place Jack Harvey. He skillfully avoided an accident on the first lap at Long Beach, took the lead and never looked back, earning his third victory in as many races. Jones was unfortunate in Barber two weeks ago, making a mistake in race one on the first lap, which cost him the podium and in race two, he got hit from behind on the first lap and was forced to return to the pits to change tires.
The Mazda Grand Prix of Indianapolis commences tomorrow with qualifying at 12 p.m. ET and the first of two races will be at 4:30 p.m. ET. Race two will start at 1:25 p.m. on Saturday, May 9. Live timing and commentary for all session will be available on the Mazda Road to Indy app and at indylights.com.
Carlin took a second victory in the team’s debut in the Indy Lights Series presented by Cooper Tires today, in race two of the weekend in St Petersburg, Florida. In a repeat of yesterday, Ed Jones led from start to finish to take victory by over nine seconds from second placed man Jack Harvey. Team mate Max Chilton lost out on the outside at the rolling start, dropping to fourth and despite race long pressure was unable to improve around the tight street circuit.
The Carlin drivers of Jones and Chilton once again started first and second for today’s Indy Lights race. Taking place under sunny skies and warmer temperatures than yesterday, Jones made a strong start to hold the lead into the first corner. Chilton found himself again losing out on the outside as the cars filed round the tight turn one and dropped to fourth behind Harvey and Spencer Pigot.
Chilton was immediately back on the attack though, pushing Pigot hard as Jones pushed on with Harvey close behind. With the gap under a second in the early stages, Jones withstood the pressure well to gradually build up a comfortable gap from Harvey – Carlin’s 2012 British F3 Champion.
Chilton was also on a charge – setting the fastest lap so far on lap four as he filled the mirrors of Pigot’s car. A full course yellow temporarily halted the racing action, but once again Jones controlled from the front to maintain his position ahead of Harvey.
With the race now running without incident, Jones continued to build up a gap, from one second on lap 18 to 5.2 seconds by lap 38. Chilton still hadn’t given up, the Carlin man passed Pigot at turn one on lap 41 but ran wide as Pigot managed to take the position back. Chilton tried next time round, almost making the move stick before slotting back into fourth.
Chilton stayed right on the rear wing of Pigot for the last few laps, as Jones continued to pull out a gap on Harvey. As Jones crossed the line to take his second victory of the weekend, the gap was over nine seconds as Chilton completed a stunning debut weekend for the Carlin team in fourth place.
Speaking about his race, Jones said “I keep saying it but the team have done a fantastic job to come here and be so consistent with such a strong car; we’ve topped every session which is such a great feeling. I’ve loved my first weekend in Indy Lights and can’t wait to come back for more in Long Beach.”
Trevor Carlin added “I’m delighted with out first weekend in Indy Lights – it’s been more than I could have imagined. The team and drivers have done a fantastic job and I’m so proud of everyone and the way we have approached this new era at Carlin. Ed has done the perfect job in every session this weekend and I can’t wait to see what Ed and Max can deliver in Long Beach which will be yet another new experience for us.”