Indy Lights points leader Oliver Askew is looking to form an alliance with a top IndyCar team if he can successfully graduate to the series next year.
The 22-year-old races for Andretti Autosport in Indy Lights, which is also one of IndyCar’s biggest outfits.
He has a 41-point lead over Juncos Racing’s Rinus VeeKay, but the small entry list at Laguna Seca this weekend means Askew only needs to start both races to be crowned champion.
Title success would bring Askew a $1.1 million prize that funds three races in IndyCar, including the 2020 Indianapolis 500.
However, securing funding for a full-time seat ? believed to be five times as expensive ? has proven difficult. Since 2000, 10 of the champions haven’t competed full-time in their first IndyCar season, and only four of those went on to become full-time.
?Looking back historically it?s not ideal for drivers to run just three races,” Askew told Formula Scout.
“It takes quite a bit of time to get used to the car in race conditions and get used to the driving style of our competitors in IndyCar.
?The goal is to be racing full-time with an affiliation with a top team. Hopefully, within the next couple of weeks, we?ll have something to announce.?
Askew believes that having this affiliation would help ease pressure based on the results and form 2018 Lights title contenders Colton Herta (who has won as rookie with the Andretti-affiliated Harding Steinbrenner Racing this year) and Patricio O?Ward have shown in an Indy Car.
?Hopefully we can be affiliated with a top team, and that will take a lot of the pressure away knowing that I will have good equipment under me.
“As long as I do my job and get the most out of the car every weekend, I don?t think there?s anything to worry about.?
?I think the championships and scholarships have been more crucial for myself [than for title rival Rinus VeeKay]. I?m very happy to be in the position we are in right now.?
While the most likely option would be IndyCar, Askew is looking outside of the series in the event everything falls through.
?I think the only opportunity would be in American sportscar racing. There?s nothing in Europe right now that?s been offered or is appealing to us at the moment, [but] I think we?ve acquired enough contacts and relationships here on the IndyCar side and the sportscar side.
?Both paddocks relate to one another in some way and a lot of IndyCar teams have affiliations with sportscar teams so hopefully we can go IndyCar but if not then we can work something else out.?