Hunter McElrea will cut his first competitive laps in nearly four months this weekend when the Indy Pro 2000 championship returns to action this weekend at Road America.
McElrea will make his promotion to the class with Pabst Racing and debuts in the series after the welcome announcement of a revamping to the champion’s scholarship.
Should the Kiwi triumph in his maiden season he will gain automatic entry into next year’s Indy lights season and fully covered IndyCar test in 2021. If all the stars align, McElrea could realistically join the IndyCar grid by 2022.
Only a mechanical problem in qualifying during last year’s USF2000 season finale saw McElrea get pipped to the crown by Braden Eves who also graduates to the Indy Pro series with Exclusive AutoSport.
Desperate to put an end to his Indy Pro curse, series stalwart Parker Thompson has appeared as one McElrea’s most prominent title threats.
Thompson has finished in the top three in both his past two seasons in the championship but is yet to crack into the next step on his Road to Indy journey.
McElrea finished his inaugural Indy Pro 2000 test session third fastest from the traditional ‘spring training’ event from Homestead-Miami Speedway and has since only completed a handful of laps in a practice session at the postponed St Petersburg season-opener.
This weekend also marks the first time in the delayed 2020 season IndyCar will welcome a return of fans. Spectators will be met with mandated temperature checks at the gate and will be forced to practice social distancing protocols and don a mask where this is not possible.
The Kiwi will have a pair of 50-minute races around the Wisconsin venue this weekend and will share the event schedule with fellow compatriot Scott Dixon in the third round of the NTT IndyCar Series.