After running four Indy Lights Presented by Cooper Tires events in 2017, Pato O’Ward is hoping to be part of the conversation for the championship in 2018.
Recently, O’Ward spoke with Popular Open Wheel’s Ashley McCubbin about his recent test at Indianapolis Motor Speedway, and more.
POPULAR OPEN WHEEL: What are your thoughts on the Indy Lights test last month at Indianapolis?
PATO OWARD: I think it went alright. It’s been awhile since I’ve been in a car so it was very rough in the beginning, but some of the test sessions were good, some of them we struggled. I think it was all 100% perfect, but we were trying different things and it was pretty average for me.
POW: You got to run to the first four events last year. What was your biggest takeaway from those?
PATO: I think the biggest takeaway from that was the car is much bigger, more power, you have to watch the tires a little more, you have to watch your foot on power to try and keep it under you the whole race.
POW: How is progress coming in running a full slate in 2018? What’s your schedule look like as of right now?
PATO: I don’t have anything yet. I’m working on some things but there’s nothing yet. That’s still not a for sure, but definitely working on 2018.
POW: If you could run the full schedule and go for the title, what would that mean to you?
PATO: I think it would be great. I’ve always been focused on open-wheel stuff, and I wasn’t able to keep that going last year so I did some prototype stuff. I’d love to keep the prototype stuff going and re-open the door to open-wheel and dabble on both sides.
POW: Going between prototype and open-wheel, what’s the biggest difference you have noticed?
PATO: Honestly, I think the biggest difference is the way you approach things as that’s way different. You have to be more patient, way more relaxed in the prototype. In an Indy Lights car, you’re pretty much tense the whole way through and it’s a lot more adrenaline-boosting versus the prototype stuff because it’s a sprint, so you have to get things done within a short amount of time.
POW: Looking at the Indy Lights schedule, what track are you most looking forward to?
PATO: Barber is one of my all-time favourites. Obviously, St. Petersburg because it’s the first one of the year, and I really like Toronto. And obviously, the highlight of the year is always the Freedom 100 so I really want to do a good job there if given the opportunity.
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