After 179 podium-less starts on the F1 circuit and a year serving as a backup/test driver for Aston Martin, Hulkenberg is attempting to come back in another series.
The Arrow McLaren SP IndyCar team is billing the upcoming ride as Hulkenberg’s “IndyCar evaluation test.”
Hulkenberg is viewing it as a second chance.
Former Formula 1 driver Nico Hulkenberg looking for a new challenge
For the 34-year-old Hulkenberg, reality must have been settling in over the past few years. His future joining another F1 team on a full-time basis appeared bleak.
His last full-time seat was with Renault in 2019. Last season, he stayed in the game, but as a substitute driver for Racing Point. In three races, he collected a pair of top-10 finishes.
Formula 3 driver Logan Sargeant will join Hulkenberg and four other prospects on Oct. 25 for the test session at the 2.238-mile road course at Barber Motorsports Park in Birmingham, Alabama.
“I am pleased to try out an Indy car and see what it’s all about,” Hulkenberg said, reported by yahoo.com. “I want to thank Arrow McLaren SP and Chevy for the opportunity at relatively short notice.
“While I don’t have any current plans to race in IndyCar, it will be great to drive a car for the first time and get a feel for the series.”
Nico Hulkenberg out to ‘gain some miles’ during the test session
Hulkenberg may not have any “current” plans; the evaluation/rookie session will be staged primarily to determine how he handles an IndyCar.
Hulkenberg is scheduled to race an Arrow McLaren SP-Chevrolet, and Sargeant will pilot an AJ Foyt Racing-Chevrolet. Andretti Autosport, Dale Coyne Racing, and Ed Carpenter Racing will also field test cars.
It will be Hulkenberg’s first time testing an IndyCar.
Officials from Arrow McLaren SP will be watching Hulkenberg closely. The team likely will add a third team to its two-machine stable, joining drivers Pato O’Ward and Felix Rosenqvist.
“We’re looking forward to welcoming Nico and giving him his first taste of IndyCar in an Arrow McLaren SP Chevrolet,” Arrow McLaren SP President Taylor Kiel said. “Barber will be a great track for him to get his first laps and gain some miles in a new form of open-wheel racing.”
McLaren CEO Zak Brown wants the third team to go full-time
Last month, McLaren CEO Zak Brown told motorsports.com at the Laguna Seca event that the team is serious about fielding a third team. The timetable may still be unsettled, but the commitment appears to be beyond the planning stages.
“Once we get going on a third car, whenever that is … we’ll then run a third car (full-time),” Brown said. “We’re not going to be in and out: once we go, we’re going.”
Brown suggested the team may not be prepared to go full-time until 2023. Team officials likely will run a select 2022 schedule.
First, the team needs to target a third driver.
Hulkenberg should expect a thorough job interview process on Oct. 25.