Callum Ilott to replace injured Malukas for the Thermal Club race

Callum Ilott to replace injured Malukas for the Thermal Club race

Callum Ilott will replace the injured David Malukas for the Thermal Club’s non-championship event next week.

Callum Ilott is going to spend his second weekend behind the wheel of an IndyCar to kick off the 2024 season, as revealed by Arrow McLaren he will be joining the team for the $1 million challenge at the Thermal Club.

Ilott will pilot the #6 entry for yet another race as David Malukas recovers from his injuries as the former also replaced the latter last weekend in St. Petersburg for the season opener.

Malukas was given around seven weeks to recover after suffering a dislocated wrist in a mountain biking incident in February after signing to join McLaren alongside Pato O’Ward and Alexander Rossi for the 2024 season.

It wasn’t until Thursday that his participation in the upcoming exhibition event and test session was confirmed as his doctors continue monitoring his progress. He attended the St. Petersburg event with his new team, but remained in the pit stand with his hand wrapped, and never got aboard the car.

Now, Illot’s participation in the test at Barber Motorsports Park and the race at Thermal Club on Monday has been officially confirmed by Arrow Mclaren.

Ilott has competed in IndyCar racing for the past two seasons with Juncos Hollinger. However, he was not given a drive after Romain Grosjean took his seat on the team. McLaren, who is in a partnership with Juncos Hollinger, has now asked him to fill in for Malukas.

The 25-year-old had the lowest finish among the three McLaren drivers last weekend in St. Petersburg, finishing 13th after qualifying 16th. He adjusted to his temporary team well and gave the entry a solid points day.

“It wasn’t a bad race,” he said of St. Petersburg. “Starting 16th, we chipped away a little bit. I think we struggled a little bit in the first stint, everyone was quite processional, but we had a good car.

“Once we put the Firestone alternate tires on, we definitely had a bit more pace and it was a shame we couldn’t quite unlock it with the way traffic worked out.

“Then we tried to gamble pitting earlier for the final stint, and it almost paid off but didn’t quite get through. There was a lot of fuel save at the end. Arrow McLaren did a great job with the car; it was fast.”

As the season gets underway, the British racer is already making a big impact as he is testing configurations and making tweaks that the entire team can use for the remainder of the season with veterans Pato O’Ward and Alexander Rossi.

After the two outings with McLaren, Ilott will resume his regular responsibilities as Team Jota’s driver in the WEC Hypercar class.

At the “$1 million Challenge” non-championship event which will take place at the Thermal Club resort in California on the weekend of March 22–24, drivers will compete in a series of heat races before a final race to determine the winner of the $1 million prize.

This will be the series’ inaugural race there although the Thermal Club has hosted official IndyCar tests in the past.

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