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IndyCar Laguna Seca

Ed Carpenter Racing to have a slightly different look in 2024

The recent signing of Christian Rasmussen is only a small part of the changes coming to Ed Carpenter Racing for the 2024 season in the IndyCar Series.

Ed Carpenter

Rasmussen, the 2023 Indy NXT champion, is currently signed to run the road and street events in the team’s #20 Chevrolet entry, along with being in a third car for the Indianapolis 500. Team owner Ed Carpenter will drive the #20 for the six oval races.

The decision to sign the 23-year-old Dane came following a test with ECR at Barber Motorsports Park last month, which also included Oliver Askew. Rasmussen will team alongside Rinus VeeKay, who will be entering his fifth season in IndyCar – all with ECR.

“I think his (Rasmussen) record speaks for itself, the wins and championships,” Carpenter said.

“It's going to be fun having yet another young guy in the team, keeping that energy level high. I think he and Rinus are going to be a really good fit and complement each other well.

“The biggest thing we saw in the test day at Barber was the natural ability and speed that he has. There's definite things we know he needs to work on, that Christian is aware he needs to work on, but we're excited to get that journey started. Really excited for what his ceiling is going to be.”

Rinus VeeKay, Ed Carpenter Racing Chevrolet

Photo by: Michael L. Levitt / Motorsport Images

Rinus VeeKay, Ed Carpenter Racing Chevrolet

Unlike the previous two seasons, there are no plans to run a third car at events outside of the Indy 500. The groupthink behind that choice is to maximize the resources, especially after last season when the organization scored only four top 10s between Carpenter, VeeKay, Conor Daly and his mid-season replacement, Ryan Hunter-Reay.

“Yeah, really a lot of it was just taking an assessment of where we were and how the year went, what went well and what didn't, how do we take a step forward,” Carpenter said.

“The series is so competitive now from top to bottom. For us, it was as much as anything about making sure we're using the resources that we have with all of our personnel and cars and preparation and putting our best foot forward.

“We staffed up more last year for the third car than we had in the past, but that's still probably less than what other two-car teams would average. As much as anything, we weren't happy with how we performed last year overall. Doing the same exact thing again wasn't going to be the ultimate fix. If we could have got enough additions into the team on all sides of things from engineering down through the mechanics, maybe we could have come to a different conclusion.

“The competition just isn't on track, it's off track as well. Very hard to get new people into the building and away from other teams. This is a solution that allows us to be more focused and hopefully come back stronger in 2024, which is the plan.”

As it relates to Rasmussen, Carpenter shared the contract is not strictly set for only 2024.

“There's options for it to be multiple years,” Carpenter said.

“That's the intent, that this is more than a one-year project. I think if you look at our history, in most cases we've tried to build on relationships and grow them. I don't think it would be fair to say we're going to see Christian's full potential after one year. It's a jump. I expect him to be strong, but we want to be able to capitalize on his talent for the long run. That's our intent.”

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When asked by Motorsport.com if it would be possible for Rasmussen to run other oval events with another team to gain experience with a full-time schedule, similar to when Daly split time with ECR and Carlin in 2019 and 2020, Carpenter expressed a hesitancy toward the concept.

“Yeah, we haven't really talked about that,” Carpenter said. “I'd say it's unlikely that we would be comfortable having him run with another team. I would say it's early enough that there's always potential to add to the program that we have if the situation presents itself over time and we're able to do that.

“Certainly, the long-term goal is to have him running a full-time schedule, so we'll see how that develops. Right now, this is the plan.”

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