HMD to focus on Indy NXT in 2024

HMD Motorsports will maintain its focus next season on competing in the Indy NXT by Firestone series.

The reigning series champions, who guided Linus Lundqvist to the final title run under the Indy Lights moniker, more than doubled its capacity entering 2023 by expanding to nine full-time NXT entries while also expressing an interest in adding a future NTT IndyCar Series program to its offerings.

According to HMD’s general manager Mike Maurini, the Henry Malukas-owned operation will look nearly identical next year.

“I think eight to 10 cars will be where we end up,” Maurini told RACER.

From the seven NXT races held this season, HMD drivers have dominated with Danial Frost, Christian Rasmussen, Reece Gold, and Nolan Siegel accounting for five victories. Siegel and Rasmussen currently sit 1-2 at the halfway point of the championship while Gold and Frost remain in the conversation in sixth and seventh respectively, which suggests the year-to-year expansion has not come at the cost of competitiveness throughout the program.


“I think the growth has met expectations,” Maurini said. “Coming into the year and having to get up to speed on a new tire, having more drivers was better. We’ve had financial issues with a couple of drivers, but we’ve overcome that and instead of nine cars this past weekend, we only had eight.

“But there remains a lot of interest and activity for 2024, which started in April. The phone calls started earlier this year than we’ve had before, which I’m hoping is due to the success.”

A ninth car could be in motion at various points during the six remaining events and a 10th is possible for the championship closer at WeatherTech Raceway Laguna Seca.

“I think the ninth car will be pulled from [the next event at] Iowa onwards, but there’s a potential at Laguna at the end of the year that we’ll run an additional car for an Indy Pro driver, or another driver that’s out of a European series,” Maurini said. “So there’s a chance that the last race of the season will have one or two more drivers. I don’t think we would do it before then. And I don’t think we will do it if we’re fighting another team for the championship; we’d likely shy away from causing any distractions.

“But there have been several drivers who reached about doing the last race because Nolan Siegel is a perfect example of someone who did it last year with us, left Laguna saying, ‘My neck sore, my arms are tired, I’ve got get stronger,’ used what he learned, came back to do the full season, and has run at the front.”

Maurini also says the timing isn’t right for HMD, which is building out a large new facility on the outskirts of Indianapolis, to expand beyond NXT in 2024.

“If anything happens on the IndyCar front, we’re more looking at 2025 or later,” he said. “Our shop is supposed to be done around Thanksgiving this year, so to put all the pieces in place in our current small facility is not possible. We don’t want to come in and run around the back. If we can come in and run with the midfield teams, that would be a win for us. And that would be the number one goal.

“We’re not going to go out there and compete immediately against Penske, McLaren, Ganassi, but hopefully in the long term, that will be the ultimate goal. There’s a lot of people that have interest in IndyCar, so it’s just a matter of if those people have the funding to go racing.”

If and when HMD is able to develop an in-house IndyCar program, it would have an internal pipeline to provide its stable of NXT drivers​​ a path to the big series. Sacrificing most of its NXT team to do so, however, is not on the cards.

“The Indy NXT program is the mothership,” Maurini said. “That’s our number one priority now. And we’re not going to dismantle a race-winning business to go try and make a run in at IndyCar. We don’t need to do it, but if we do it, we want to do it the right way.”​

Story originally appeared on Racer