Opportunities knocking for Ilott in IndyCar, WEC

Another stirring drive at the Indianapolis 500 has only helped Callum Ilott’s stock value rise in the NTT IndyCar Series.

Starting 15th for the Arrow McLaren team, Ilott was the first car to visit pit lane — during the parade laps — to deal with a failed weight jacker, and after starting from the back of the 33-car field, he spent the race going backwards and forwards on the way to finishing 11th, one spot better than in 2023 when he went from 27th to 12th for Juncos Hollinger Racing.

With an interesting free agent pool that includes 2016 Indianapolis 500 winner Alexander Rossi plus race winners Christian Lundgaard and Rinus VeeKay, Ilott is drawing plenty of attention from IndyCar teams, and in a new twist, opportunities of equal or greater size are emerging for him in the FIA World Endurance Championship.


Entering the 24 Hours of Le Mans, Ilott and his teammates at the privateer Hertz Team JOTA program are holding a prime second place in the WEC’s Hypercar championship after securing a second to open the season and a win at the most recent round with their hybrid Porsche 963.

As a result, the lifelong open-wheeler has become the big new name in international endurance racing and is being courted by major factories to join their Hypercar programs, and has IndyCar teams inquiring about his availability.

It comes in stark contrast to where he sat nearly 10 months ago when his relationship with the Juncos Hollinger team was at an all-time low. After a season filled with disagreements with the outfit over its handling of social media attacks fired at Ilott by some of his teammate’s fans, he split with the team — despite have one more year on his contract — as the situation became untenable for the Briton.

“I think things are not just looking up career-wise, but also mentally,” Ilott told RACER. “You have to hit some lows to feel good about the position you’re in, and JOTA helped me out of that situation at the end of last year and I knew I could do a good job in that position. We’re currently P2 in the championship as a privateer team and I’m thoroughly impressed with the team. They’re thoroughly impressed with me, I hope. And that has re-ignited the competition side that maybe I’ve missed after being a reserve driver in Formula 1, and then again fighting for top 10s the last couple of years in IndyCar has helped massively.”

Ilott helped make JOTA’s privateer Porsche 963 a Hypercar winner at Spa, although his WEC success limited his IndyCar availability this season. Motorsport Images

With his WEC schedule presenting a handful of conflicts with the remaining IndyCar races, Arrow McLaren chose to sign 2023 Formula 2 champion Theo Pourchaire to complete the calendar in the No. 6 Chevy. But with Meyer Shank Racing’s recent call to park Tom Blomqvist in the No. 66 Chevy, there’s a possibility of seeing Ilott in action at some of the road and street course events left to run.

And then there’s 2025 where his services could be called upon by a few IndyCar teams who’ve inquired about a certain front-running veteran to improve their results. On the other end of the scale, Ilott, the former Ferrari Driver Academy member, will need to weigh the offers and stability presented with factory Hypercar seats in the WEC.

“Getting these opportunities in IndyCar this year was unexpected and I never know what might happen later on in the season,” he said. “It was a privilege and a bonus to race with Arrow McLaren. I think being in a good headspace and without any pressure, maybe that helped with the results. Getting integrated in a last-minute scenario was not too easy, but they were happy with the job I did and it was solid and I built a good relationship with them. Everything positive on that side and it’s nice to be back in that trusted place to do a good job. Both in Europe and the U.S.

“It’s just nice to be getting these opportunities and to be on people’s minds because I think 2022 was strong for that (with Juncos Hollinger) and 2023 seemed to slowly slip away as the year went on. But we’re back where we belong and I feel our future is in a good place.”

Story originally appeared on Racer