Pigot progressing on Carpenter IndyCar team

David Goricki
The Detroit News

Detroit — Spencer Pigot has been a champion in multiple stops on the way to the IndyCar series and feels fortunate to be competing for a second season with Ed Carpenter Racing.

Pigot, a 23-year-old American, won the Pro Mazda series title in 2014, then moved up to Indy Lights the following season, where he earned the series title to get the opportunity to test his skills in the premier IndyCar series.

Carpenter, who competes on ovals, brought in Pigot for seven races last year, getting a pair of top-10 finishes after he ran three races earlier in the season for Rahal/Letterman/Lanigan Racing, where he finished 25th in the Indianapolis 500.

“I feel a lot better this year,” said Pigot who has already matched his two top-10 finishes from a year ago.

“We had a whole offseason to go over everything from 2016 and see exactly where we needed to focus on, and so far it seems like we’ve really made gains in those areas, so it’s nice to see that all the hard work has paid off.

“I’m just more comfortable with everything. I know what to expect going into an IndyCar weekend. You know how hard you have to push all the time, every session because you can’t ever get behind in terms of your development of the car over the weekend. That’s something that I’ve gotten more used to and better at I think and I think we’re just going to keep getting better and better.”

Pigot opened the season with a 20th-place finish at St. Petersburg in his No. 20 Fuzzy’s Chevrolet, followed by an eighth-place showing at Long Beach, 20th again at Alabama and ninth spot in the Indianapolis Grand Prix earlier this month.

Pigot will be running in Sunday’s Indianapolis 500 for Juncos Racing, a team he won the Pro Mazda title with in ’14, winning six races, then the Indy Lights title in ’15, winning six more times.

He will start from the 29th spot, or middle of the 10th row. Carpenter will start in the middle of the front row.

Then, it’s on to the Chevrolet Detroit Grand Prix for the doubleheader on Belle Isle June 2-4.

So, what’s the biggest challenge on Belle Isle’s 13-turn, 2.3-mile street course?

“Street courses are always challenging, but this I think is maybe even a little bit more so because of the bumps and how tight it is, and there’s so many different pavement changes where you have concrete in some areas asphalt in some areas and there’s some fast corners and there’s some slow corners so there’s a little bit of everything here in Detroit and the walls are right there too,” Pigot said.

“It’s a very unique track, one I think the drivers really enjoy. I enjoy it because it’s a very big challenge to get right since there’s so much stuff going on for the set up for the driver so it really rewards people when they get it right, and you can kind of be out of the window in terms of set up and it can really be a hindrance here.”

Pigot knows there is little room for error in the transition from running 230 mph at the 2 1/2-mile superspeedway at Indianapolis Motor Speedway, then moving on to the doubleheader on the street course on Belle Isle, 70-lap races run on consecutive days.

“You have to do it instantly really because this is a very unique weekend in the sense we have two races,” pointed out Pigot of the series’ lone doubleheader.

“On Friday, last year the schedule was one practice session and then qualifying and I think it might be the same this year.

“You have to qualify at the front, really, so you have to be on it right away, first outing and it’s very challenging since because we’ve been at Indy for two weeks now doing the same thing over and over, and then we come here and everything’s different, but you can’t afford to be left behind.”

Pigot knows he is in a unique situation, running on street and road courses for Carpenter while also competing for Juncos at Indy.


Detroit Grand Prix

When: June 2-4, Belle Isle (IndyCar races June 3-4)

TV: Both races on ABC


2016 winners: Sebastien Bourdais and Will Power