Home Featured The story of Nolan Siegel’s surprise IndyCar and Super Formula tests

The story of Nolan Siegel’s surprise IndyCar and Super Formula tests

by Ida Wood

Photo: Nolan Siegel

Nolan Siegel will race in Indy Nxt this year, but his off-season preparations have included surprise tests at single-seaters’ top level.

Last December he joined B-MAX Racing for Super Formula’s rookie test at Suzuka, then tasted IndyCar with Dale Coyne Racing in January’s group test at Homestead-Miami Speedway and seriously impressed.

Formula Scout asked the 19-year-old what led to testing in Japan, in a series not on his career radar.

“[It] came about because we were going into the off-season with limited testing and I was hoping that I’d get an opportunity to drive an Indy car. Obviously didn’t know it would [later] happen,” recalled Siegel.

“The SF car is very, very fast and just completely different. There was actually an opportunity with a different team that I didn’t end up taking. But then we got thinking ‘maybe this is a good thing to do and it would be a lot of fun’. So I made the trip out to Japan, drove a really fast car with a completely different environment and it was difficult, it was really tough.

“But I think those difficult situations are the ones that you learn the most from. I learned a tonne and definitely going to the IndyCar test after driving something faster than an Indy car, rather than going from Indy Nxt to IndyCar, was huge.”

Siegel’s Indy Nxt car in 2023 was co-run by DCR and HMD Motorsports. He revealed at 2024 pre-season testing the story behind his IndyCar call-up.

“It came about in an interesting way, for sure. I was at Daytona at the Roar [the 24-hour race’s test] driving the LMP2 car and Dale Coyne came up to our pit box, tapped me on the shoulder and said ‘hey, can we talk for a minute’. He said they were testing that week.

“Dale told me on Tuesday afternoon, the test was on Wednesday and said ‘hey, come to Miami, it’s happening’. So I grabbed my seat from the HMD shop here in Indianapolis, and flew to Orlando, drove to Miami and didn’t see the car until the morning of the test. It was very late. But I’m really glad it came together and think it went really well. Not a lot of preparation but overall super, super happy that I got the opportunity.”

How unprepared was Siegel? “I got there that morning and the Honda guys were like ‘have you seen a manual for the car or anything?’. I was like ‘never seen the steering wheel in my life, don’t know what any of the buttons do’. They were like ‘okay, just go drive, here’s the clutch, go’.”

The “incredible experience” left Siegel “itching to get back into the Indy car” and “even hungrier” to become 2024 Indy Nxt champion. While he does not know if the offer would have come had he not been at Daytona, he noted “Dale tries to be as involved as he possibly can” in Indy Nxt operations so hopes “I would have gotten that opportunity no matter what”.