One of the best kept secrets on the Road to Indy, 22-year-old Hunter McElrea finally gets his big break going into 2022. Three years ago, he missed winning the USF2000 championship by only five points, after which he graduated to Indy Pro 2000 with Pabst Racing. It’s been a tough run at times, as McElrea and Pabst adjusted to a series new to team and driver, while a series of mechanical gremlins ruined the first part of their 2021 season.
By Jeroen Demmendaal
During the second half of the season though, McElrea and Pabst found their stride and secured five consecutive podium finishes, including two wins. That opened up new opportunities for the New Zealand driver as he looked towards Indy Lights. Now, after three years with what he calls his second family at Pabst Racing, McElrea joins Andretti Autosport, the team that delivered the last three driver champions in Indy Lights.
That means the pressure to perform is on when the Lights season kicks off at St Petersburg in late February, but the likeable young man from Kiwiland is bursting with confidence. “I am driving for Andretti, so I just have to worry about driving, and I know I have the car to win every weekend,” he gushes. We spoke to McElrea as he was preparing to travel to Florida for two pre-season tests.
Header photo credit: Chris Owens, IMS Photo