Brabham and McElrea to kick off Indy Lights season at St Pete

Matt Brabham (left) and Hunter McElrea (right)

Matt Brabham and Hunter McElrea are prepared as ever for the start of the new Indy Lights season on the streets of St Petersburg, Florida this weekend.

The pair will both compete for Andretti Autosport in the primary support series for IndyCar, with the Indy Lights season taking place over a 14-race schedule.

Brabham, who will pilot the #83 Dallara, returns to the Road to Indy ladder system with plenty of unfinished business since his campaign in 2014.

Matt Brabham with his Andretti car

The third-generation racer has been involved in an extensive testing programme with the team in the lead up to the 2022 curtain-raiser, which he believes will set him up well for the year.

It comes after the Florida-born driver has spent the last few years dabbling in various disciplines, including Stadium Super Trucks and Supercars, also competing in the 2016 Indianapolis 500 with Pirtek Team Murray.

“It’s been an absolute whirlwind for me over the past few years jumping trucks and jumping in one-off rides all over the place,” said Brabham.

“It’s really been so refreshing for me to be able to finally focus and work full time on pre-season testing for St Pete and properly prepare for the season, as opposed to being thrown in at the last minute which is how it usually goes for me.

“I’d have to say I’m the most prepared I’ve ever been for the start of a full racing season given the extensive programme we have had in recent months.

“We have some unfinished business in Indy Lights after 2014 which was a really intense season, so there’s a lot to learn from that, but I’m far more experienced as a driver now.”

McElrea, who is making his debut in Indy Lights having finished third in the 2021 Indy Pro 2000 Championship, will steer the #27 Andretti Autosport car.

Last season, the American-born, Australian-raised New Zealander picked up four wins and 13 podiums across his year in Indy Pro 2000.

This weekend’s St Pete season-opener for Indy Lights supports the first round of the new IndyCar season.

The 2.89km, 14-turn circuit incorporates streets of downtown St Petersburg and a section of runway of Albert Whitted Airport.

Sunday’s Indy Lights race will take place over 45 laps beginning at 0930 ET (01:30, Monday AEDT).

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