A strong showing for Felix Serralles in Indy Lights presented by Cooper Tires the past two seasons has begun to pay off.
The 24-year-old, who won three races and finished sixth in the championship in both 2015 and ’16, will become the first Puerto Rican to drive a Verizon IndyCar Series car when he tests Nov. 10-11 with Andretti Autosport at Sebring International Raceway in Florida.
“It’s incredible,” Serralles said. “I have a chance to test with a team like Andretti, who has won many championships across many forms of motorsports. Being able to be in that environment is one of the best things that I could ever hope for.”
With this great opportunity ahead of him, the veteran of 34 Indy Lights starts is focused on absorbing as much as possible from Andretti Autosport drivers Ryan Hunter-Reay, Marco Andretti and Alexander Rossi at the test.
“I want to learn. That is my main goal is just to be a sponge and take everything in and learn as much as possible from Ryan and all the other drivers,” Serralles said. “I hope I can be really quick at the end of the second day.”
Serralles joined Carlin for the 2016 Indy Lights season after driving for Belardi Auto Racing in 2015. He won the season-opening race on the streets of St. Petersburg, Fla., and added another win in July on the short oval at Iowa Speedway. His first Indy Lights win came at The Milwaukee Mile with Belardi in 2015.
He ended the 2016 season 52 points behind Carlin teammate Ed Jones, the Indy Lights champion. Four finishes of 10th or worse hurt Serralles’ chances at the title, but he is still satisfied with the way things went.
“In general, it was a pretty good second year, second crack at the Indy Lights championship,” he said. “We just unfortunately had a little bit of bad luck midway through the season.
“I am really happy with the way things went. I wish they could have gone better, but there is only so much you can do. A lot of things were out of our control. I think it is just better to move on and prepare for what is next.”
Next in Serralles’ thoughts is a chance to earn a Verizon IndyCar Series ride for 2017. He finds himself in a very competitive position, vying with Jones and several other aspiring Indy Lights drivers to make the move up to the Verizon IndyCar Series.
There aren’t many open seats available for next season, which puts even more emphasis on the test with Andretti for Serralles. Despite the magnitude of the situation, he has found a silver lining in the fact that he is even being considered for a ride.
“It’s exciting to know that there are so little seats out there and you could get a chance,” said Serralles. “It depends on budget and sponsorships, but at the end of the day it is still exciting and still awesome to be one of those drivers running for an Indy car seat. To have that chance, even to just be looked at, I think that’s a goal for myself.”