Hulkenberg interest validates IndyCar, AMSP – Kiel

Interest from the likes of Nico Hulkenberg in racing for Arrow McLaren SP is exciting for the team, according to its president Taylor Kiel.

Hulkenberg made his IndyCar test debut for AMSP at Barber on Monday, completing over 100 laps and showing competitive pace as he trialed the Dallara DW12-Chevy for the first time. Kiel says it was a positive test from both sides, and one that shows just how attractive the team and IndyCar is to experienced Formula 1 drivers.

“We don’t really going into these types of situations and evaluation tests with much preconceived notion or expectation,” Kiel told RACER. “We try to run through a plan and understand where Nico’s at. Like we’ve said from the beginning, it was as much about us looking at him as him looking at us and this series and the style of driving and these cars. Certainly a lot to digest overnight and the coming days, and I think the same for him, as well.

“But it’s exciting. I think any time you get somebody like Nico to drive one of your cars is a good testament to where we are at as a team, and where we are at as a series. We’ve had a lot of interest internationally, so it’s good. A good day.”

While Hulkenberg arrived with nearly 200 races of F1 experience under his belt, Kiel admits it’s important for AMSP to focus on the details that won’t be familiar to such a driver when they first get in an IndyCar.

“I was laughing just listening in the background,” he said. “We’re going through things with him like he’s a rookie. And you take a step back and you’re like ‘Woah man, this guy’s been driving at a high level for a long time’. So it’s probably a humbling moment for a lot of us, but at the end of the day it’s a totally different animal. I’m not sure when the last time he drove a car without power steering was. Things like that.

“He made a comment on the back section – it’s fast and the steering gets very heavy in some of the chicane complexes – and he was like ‘I felt like the steering locked’. So it’s walking through some very basic things, but at the same time you have to because it’s a lot of new things.”