Chevy Racing–INDYCAR–Indianapolis Media Day– MAX CHILTON, NO. 8 CHIP GANASSI RACING

FEBRUARY 2, 2016


THE MODERATOR: Welcome to the Indianapolis Motor Speedway, Verizon IndyCar Series Media Day. Our first press conference is with the newcomers and the returning stars to the Verizon IndyCar Series. We welcome Max Chilton

THE MODERATOR: Max Chilton, congratulations. This came together in a hurry. You ran a limited schedule in Indy Lights last year, but were very successful. How did this thing come together? We heard rumors you were talking to different teams. How did the deal with Chip Ganassi come together?

MAX CHILTON: You said it came around quickly, but it took a very long time (laughter). It came about June, July last year when I won the Iowa race. It was the day my teammate (Jules Bianchi from Formula One) passed away. The team looked into it and they realized it was my second only oval race. In the following weeks I got contacted by every team. It was a filter system. I got it down to two pretty quickly. There was one that I wanted to be with.

I guess, yeah, that did come along not too long ago. Signed only a couple weeks ago.

Chip has a fantastic history in INDYCAR, having 11 titles and four Indianapolis 500s. This is a fantastic opportunity for me. It’s been a difficult last few years because even though I was in Formula One and that was my dream, it’s frustrating not having a chance to win. You finish 13th, it’s disheartening.

Now I’m with Chip. Not too sure on the ovals, plenty of the road courses I haven’t raced. But I have the chance to win. I’m looking forward to it.

THE MODERATOR: You’re only the fourth Brit to come fulltime out of Formula One and run in the Verizon IndyCar Series. You talk about running the ovals. Was that a big learning experience for you? We talk about the (Indy Lights) Iowa race. You were fantastic. Quite surprising for everybody. The transition from Formula One and running that limited schedule last year.

MAX CHILTON: I haven’t actually made the transition yet. I’m yet to drive an Indy car on a road course or oval, wherever it may be. I can’t really say how it’s going to be. I can remember the first time I drove an Indy Lights car on the oval last year. It was Homestead. I’m sure it’s the same for many of the European or Formula One drivers that come over, you feel completely out of your comfort zone. I’m not going to lie, I still feel that way. Given time, it should become normal.

It’s not like I’m quick. I won a race. I spoke to Dario (Franchitti). He said it took a few years to become comfortable. I have to soak it up. I have the best teammates I can imagine with Tony (Kanaan), Scott (Dixon) and Charlie (Kimball), who have so much experience I can soak up. I’m in a very good position.

THE MODERATOR: They’re big practical jokers, just so you’re aware. Just get used to it.

MAX CHILTON: English humor. Have to get used to it.

Q. Max, these large organizations, what do you think the opportunity to engage in extracurricular activities this year might be?

MAX CHILTON: Are you implying I’m trying to drive in NASCAR (laughter)?

For my age, I’ve experienced a lot. I’m always willing to try anything. I think the most exciting project, which I’m not part of, which Chip is doing, obviously the Ford GT program is amazing, if I was doing Le Mans, I would love to do it again.

If he says, “Happy birthday, here is a test at a global rallycross,” I would shake his hand and have a go, because that would be fantastic.

Q. Max, I don’t know how well you know Dario, but he is a bit of a driver’s coach. Are you expecting to work with him going forward?

MAX CHILTON: Dario was a huge help last year. He was probably on speed dial last year when I was on an oval, what do I do now? He was the one that said, “I didn’t feel comfortable for three years.” That makes me feel better. It should feel abnormal because it’s not normal to be constantly turning left. Might get bored with it, but I’ll give it a go.

He’s a massive part of going to Chip. Top guy, great experience. Then I have two teammates who are just as experienced. I’m just in the best place. For someone that is coming across, not having a clue about the Indy scene, ovals, I’m in a fantastic situation.

Dario is a great bloke. Good he’s a Brit as well. I’m hopeful he’ll help me succeed this year.