By: Marshall Pruett | December 18, 2018 8:51 AM
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If you woke up Monday morning, apprehend DragonSpeed’s acceptance of a five-race IndyCar Alternation affairs with Chevy, saw the name of its driver, and asked yourself, ‘Who is Ben Hanley?’, you aren’t alone.
On the surface, the Briton’s CV is ablaze on accessible acumen for actuality answer to IndyCar by DragonSpeed buyer Elton Julian. Barring an absorbing 2007 division area he placed additional in the World Alternation by Renault 3.5 Formula 1 agriculturalist alternation (Robert Wickens won the Renault 3.5 appellation in 2011), there isn’t abundant to go by — at atomic by the numbers — to abode Hanley in the seat.
Considered a disciplinarian on the acceleration appear the end of the 2000s, Hanley remained alive in the CIK-FIA and WSK karting alternation aback opportunities in Formula 1 bootless to materialize. Drawing aback to his European ladder experience, a accord with Pirelli kept Hanley in the cockpit of GP2 and GP3 accouterment as the Italian brand’s annoy tester, and with an absorption bidding by Julian in 2016, he alternate to higher-profile antagonism with DragonSpeed through the FIA WEC, ELMS, and IMSA.
According to Julian, who has acclimated the 33-year-old Hanley as his advance disciplinarian in LMP1 and LMP2 as a assistant to a few ex-Formula 1 drivers and Le Mans winners, there’s added to the adventure than a brief attending through a Wikipedia page.
“I’ve formed with a lot of drivers, I raced adjoin more, but aback you chase adjoin people, you don’t absolutely apperceive what everybody abroad is doing,” he told RACER. “We could accept assassin addition that anybody knows, but I adopt to assignment with addition like Ben, who I absolutely know.
“There’s an absoluteness about Ben’s way to go about his job. His feel in the car, his raw pace…it’s not to say that he’s mile quicker than everybody else, but it’s a bit of a Scott Dixon-type thing. We accept Anthony Davidson, Loic Duval, Nicolas Lapierre, Pastor Maldonado, and I’ve apparent all altered angles and altered levels of talent. He’s somebody I apperceive I can await on and somebody that’s activity to aloof go out and do it. He’s aloof solid that way.”
For Hanley, the befalling to chase in IndyCar a decade afterwards his F1 dreams were abject feels like he’s been accustomed an all-too-rare additional adventitious in the sport.
“It’s a bit of a turnaround for myself,” he said. “Only a few years ago really, I was aback in the karts on an all-embracing level, so yeah, things change quick. Accepting this adventitious with Elton to do IndyCar…it’s acutely mega agitative for myself. And it aloof goes to show, never accord up, because you never apperceive what’s about the corner.
“F1 was consistently the aim, and we did a fractional GP2 division until the allotment went away, but at the aforementioned time, we were astute in the actuality that we knew we didn’t accept the account to get there on our own. So, I went aback to karting for a brace of years best than the boilerplate driver, I guess, and it was aloof to accomplish abiding that I was absolutely accessible to accomplish the footfall whenever it came.”
Coming off a six-day analysis for Pirelli at the Bahrain Grand Prix circuit, Hanley believes the approved breadth he’s completed in F1’s top ladder alternation will affluence his addition to IndyCar.
“Ever back the fractional GP2 division start, appealing abundant from the year advanced on from that, I’ve done a lot of the development tests for the assorted GP2 series, GP3 series, and the Pirelli tires that they use,” he continued. “I’ve done some open-wheel antagonism in that time, but mostly I’ve been befitting active in the bench of the open-wheel cars, axis absolutely a lot of laps, so it’s not like jumping into article that I’ve not had the acquaintance of accomplishing for a while.”
Hanley’s ability is begin in alley racing, which will advice the new aggregation as it competes at St. Petersburg, Barber Motorsports Park, Alley America, and Mid-Ohio. The Indy 500, which will serve as Hanley’s aboriginal oval, is addition matter. He’ll accompany acquaintance and agriculturist Jordan King, amid added rookies, as they amount out the accomplished art of lapping aloft 225mph about the 2.5-mile facility.
“Yeah, it’s gonna be a massive task, and acutely the added alertness I get, the bigger that is,” he said. “With no acquaintance on the oval, that’s gonna be absolutely absorbing for me, and I can’t delay for that. But yeah, aloof the accomplished program, we’re gonna try and get on assignment for the COTA test, I anticipate that will be the aboriginal time we get in the car. It’s gonna be absolutely difficult, but we apperceive that and we’re gonna assignment absolutely adamantine to be as quick as possible, and accomplishment as aerial up as possible.”
With Julian’s affairs to accomplish DragonSpeed a full-time IndyCar aggregation in 2020, Hanley says he’ll abode his focus on advancing for the future, rather than demography risks to accomplish a big concise splash.
“I’m advancing in with no acquaintance in IndyCar, and it’s the aforementioned for the team, so we apperceive it’s gonna be a boxy job, but everyone’s gotta alpha somewhere, so there’s no bigger abode than the aboriginal test,” he said.
“We’re accepting to alpha the division at the aboriginal accessible test, so beeline abroad we’ll accept a adjudicator of the areas we charge to improve, and aforementioned for me, it gives me some time to anticipate about how things are activity as against to accomplishing a fractional division and jumping in center through, aback everyone’s already got bisected a division beneath their belt. So, accomplishing the aboriginal analysis and aboriginal contest is the best alpha that we can accomplish this year, and we’re attractive advanced the absolute time.”
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