The reining IndyCar Rookie of the Year James Hinchcliffe is a young star that seems ready to be one of the series elite drivers. He is piloting the Andretti Autosport No. 27 GoDaddy.com Chevrolet. The team picked him to replace Danica Patrick when she left Andretti Autosport to go to NASCAR.
Hinchcliffe will be racing in this Sunday’s Sao Paulo Indy 300 and just before he headed to Brazil, I caught up with the 27-year-old Canadian racer. We talked about his new ride, his new team and what are his goals for this season.
JW: We are three races into the season. Tell me about your car and crew?
Hinchcliffe: Well it all starts with the crew and I have had a great chance to bond with these guys. They are all pros who want to put a car out there each week that is capable of winning. We all have been impressed thus far with our Chevy engine. We tweak it each week and by the time we get to Indy, I really think the sky is the limit with the car, the engine, and this fine team.
JW: Your thoughts about this week’s race in Brazil?
Hinchcliffe: I will tell you that Brazilians are very passionate about their racing. The crowds are loud, fun, friendly, and very knowledgeable. As for the course itself, it is tough but fair and hopefully this year, we will be able to run the race without the rain that really made things difficult for the fans and the drivers last time we were in Sao Paulo.
JW: What is it like to be part of such a historic team as Andretti Autosport?
Hinchcliffe: The coolest thing about being part of the Andretti team is that it really is a family. Mario is always around to show his support and to give you tips about the car and the race courses. But for me having Michael around is really tremendous. He retired from racing back in 2007 so he really has been great at breaking down the tracks and the other drivers. He is like having a coach who knows so much about this business and he is generous with his time and his vast knowledge. Then you have teammates like Marco Andretti and Ryan Hunter-Reay who have been a great help to me and made me feel welcome from day one, so I could not ask for a better place to be.
JW: What would be a good 2012 season for you?
Hinchcliffe: Well, we wanted to get our first podium and we got that checked off our list after Long Beach. Of course, I would love to get a win for GoDaddy – they have been great. That said, I know that we have so many brilliant drivers on the IndyCar series that saying I want to win does not make it happen. But I really think that we can win this year with this car and with my team. Our goal is just to keep improving each week and do our best in every race and at the end of the day, that is all we can do. Oh, and getting a little luck never hurt anyone. If we keep up the hard work, I feel confident we will get that win and maybe we can finish in the top ten in points or even the top five if that luck enters the equation.
The Broadcast information for the Sao Paulo Indy 300:
TV – NBC Sports Network 11a.m. ET
Radio: IMS Radio Network 10:30a.m. ET – also on Sirius-XM IndyCar Channel 94.
*All quotes used in this story were obtained first hand during a phone interview conducted April 25th with James Hinchcliffe.