By: Spencer Neff
March 7, 2019 | 4:04 PM
Patricio (Pato) O’Ward will not be competing at the season-opening Firestone Grand Prix of St. Petersburg. However, the 2018 Indy Lights champion’s plans for the 2019 NTT IndyCar Series season have been firmed up.
On Thursday afternoon, Carlin Racing announced O’Ward will drive 13 races for them in 2019. O’Ward’s schedule will includ the 103rd Indianapolis 500 in May.
“I’ve had the pleasure of working with many talented drivers over the years, many of whom now race in the NTT IndyCar Series, Formula One and Formula E to name a few, and in Pato I really see a spark similar to some of our highest achieving alumni,” said Team Principal Trevor Carlin.
“He’s a hugely promising talent who deserves this opportunity and has a massive amount of potential. As a young Chevy team, we are incredibly driven and excited to help him achieve his goals in this 2019 program.”
The team will have O’ Ward splitting driving duties of their second entry. O’Ward will do so with IndyCar veteran Charlie Kimball.
Kimball was previously confirmed to drive five races this season (St. Petersburg, Indianapolis 500, Texas Motor Speedway, Pocono Raceway and WeatherTech Raceway Laguna Seca).
“I wanted to start off by saying that I’m so excited to get this 2019 NTT IndyCar Series season underway and I’m extremely grateful for the opportunity that Trevor Carlin has given me to drive for his INDYCAR team and Team Chevy,” said O’Ward.
“I’m just thankful that he and the whole Carlin team really believe in me and I’ll give it my all to show them that I’m ready to tackle any challenges ahead of us starting in a few weeks at COTA. I just don’t think I can properly express how excited I am for this opportunity.”
The addition of O’Ward to their stable brings even more intrigue to Carlin in just their second year of IndyCar competition. Max Chilton will once again run full-time for the team. For the Indianapolis 500, the team will run a third car for O’Ward. This will be O’Ward’s first attempt at the Indianapolis 500.
McLaren will also align with Trevor Carlin’s team for their Indianapolis 500 entry. 2017 Indianapolis 500 Rookie of the Year Fernando Alonso will pilot the car.
After winning the 2018 Indy Lights championship, the 19-year-old from Monterrey, Mexico made his IndyCar debut at the Sonoma finale. Driving for Harding Racing, O’ Ward quickly impressed the paddock by starting fifth and finishing ninth.
O’ Ward had previously been signed to join Indy Lights teammate Colton Herta at the rebranded Harding Steinbrenner Racing for 2019. However, funding issues led to O’ Ward asking for and being granted a release from his contract.
The uncertainty of his 2019 has weighed heavily on O’ Ward, something he admitted in today’s announcement.
“It’s been a very stressful past few weeks given my circumstances and it’s been a bit of a hustle trying to find a new home in the NTT IndyCar Series for myself, but I couldn’t be happier about landing at Carlin.”
O’ Ward’s schedule with Carlin will begin with March 24’s IndyCar Classic at Circuit of The Americas.
The remainder of his 2019 races will include the following races:
Honda Indy Grand Prix of Alabama (Barber Motorsports Park)
Acura Grand Prix of Long Beach (Streets of Long Beach)
INDYCAR Grand Prix (Indianapolis Motor Speedway)
Indianapolis 500 (Indianapolis Motor Speedway)
Chevrolet Detroit Grand Prix doubleheader (Belle Isle)
Rev Group Grand Prix at Road America (Road America)
Honda Indy Toronto (Streets of Toronto)
Iowa 300 (Iowa Speedway)
Honda Indy 200 at Mid-Ohio (Mid-Ohio Sports Car Course)
Bommarito Automotive Group 500 (Gateway Motorsports Park)
Grand Prix of Portland (Portland International Raceway).
The addition of O’Ward gives another Indy Lights champion a shot at the NTT IndyCar Series. O’Ward will also add his name to a rookie class that could be one of the most interesting in years.
Header Image By Chris Jones/INDYCAR Media