Five months into 2013 and up-and-coming American racer Conor Daly has already raced in FOUR different categories of motor racing, and tested another. On top of that, he’s likely to be given the responsibility of a Formula 1 test at some point this year, just like last year when he untook some straight-line tests for the Sahara Force India team.
Pre-season, Daly was unsure of what series he’d be racing in this year. He had signed for nothing despite being a race-winner for the Lotus ART squad in the GP3 series last year. The previous year to that, he had split his year between the GP3 series & the Indy Lights championship, the junior series to the Izod Indycar championship. In 2010 he had won the Star Mazda Championship, the series just below Indy Lights.
At the end of 2012 & into the beginning of 2013, Daly contested the MRF Challenge championship & won it, winning four races out of the ten competed in. However, the next few months were to be his busiest time. He tested out GP3, GP2, Indycar & Formula Renault 3.5 machinery within a few weeks, but even then he was unsure what series he’d be racing in full-time in 2013.
Hilmer Motorsport are a new team in the GP2 series and were after a driver for the opening round of the championship in Malaysia. Daly jumped at the chance, and amazingly scored points in the sprint race during the weekend. Soon after he was confirmed to be returning to the ART team in the GP3 series, and scored a podium finish first time out in Barcelona. More points followed in the second race, and currently he stands 4th in the championship.
AJ Foyt is a legendary name in the Indycar series, and Conor recieved the nod for the #41 ABC Supply Co. car for the biggest race in the Indycar season, the Indianapolis 500. He had to miss the first couple of days of practice because of his Spanish GP3 Series commitments, but as soon as the race in Spain was over, he was on a flight to America, ready for his rookie orientation at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway Monday morning, which he passed with flying colours.
He got up to speed quickly, but on the Thursday, he suffered a big crash through turn one, almost flipping over. Thankfully, he escaped intact, and was back in the car on Saturday ready to qualify. However he had to wait for Sunday to qualify properly as car issues lead to reduced speeds on Saturday. However, qualify he did, in 31st place. Daly made it to the end of the race, finishing two laps down in 22nd place, despite two fires occuring during pit stops. But he made it to the finish.
Daly returns to action in the GP3 series in Valencia next month, but now he’ll finally be able to sit down and relax after a few months of action in four different series. Don’t be surprised to see him full-time in the GP2 series next year, nor be surprised if he’s in Formula 1 within a couple of years. There are lots of eyes on the young, likeable American, both sides of the Atlantic. The talent is there, that is for certain.
Tagged: ABC Supply Co, AJ Foyt, ART, Barcelona, Conor Daly, F1, Formula 1, Formula Renault 3.5, GP2, GP3, Hilmer Motorsport, Indianapolis, Indy 500, Indy Lights, Indycar, Lotus, Malaysia, MRF Championship, Silverstone, Star Mazda