INDIANAPOLIS – Pato O’Ward, the reigning Indy Lights champion, has joined the Red Bull Junior Team.
O’Ward is contesting a partial NTT IndyCar Series schedule this year for Carlin. He originally joined Harding-Steinbrenner Racing for the full IndyCar schedule, but funding issues led to O’Ward departing the team.
He later joined Carlin, with whom he’s expected to compete in 13 IndyCar events this year, including the Indianapolis 500.
“This is a great opportunity for me, naturally every racing driver has their eye on F-1 and would give anything to be world champion, so to join the Red Bull Junior Team that has provided that F-1 possibility to so many drivers is fantastic for me,” O’Ward said.
Prior to his success in the Indy Lights division, O’Ward was co-champion of the now defunct IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship Prototype Challenge class in 2017. He was also runner-up in the Indy Pro 2000 division in 2016.
The Red Bull Junior Team is a driver development program that has produced a number of top competitors, including four-time Formula One champion Sebastian Vettel and Formula One winners Daniel Ricciardo and Max Verstappen.
Others who have been a part of the Red Bull Junior Team include American Scott Speed, sports car stars Filipe Albuquerque and Neel Jani, Robert Wickens, Carlos Sainz Jr., Jean-Éric Vergne and Sébastien Buemi, among others.