Jack Harvey during the testing session. Photograph: IndyCar/Brian Cleary
Jack Harvey during the testing session. Photograph: IndyCar/Brian Cleary

Racing driver Jack Harvey said he wants to be up there with the best after completing pre-season testing ahead of the IndyCar Series season.

The 24-year-old, of Bassingham, will be racing with Michael Shank Racing in a number of races in the 2018 and 2019 seasons.

His car for the upcoming season will be Honda powered and will include outings at St Petersburg, Long Beach, Sonoma Raceway and the iconic Indy 500.

The Michael Shank Racing team will benefit from a technical partnership with Harvey’s former team, Schmidt Peterson Motorsport (SPM) with whom he gained six victories and 18 podium finishes in Indy Lights.

Harvey was in confident mood going into the first race at St Petersburg, with a high-placed finish on his mind.

“Our goal for all the races this season is to qualify in the top 15 and race through to the top ten,” he said.

“We have only done two days of testing so far so it is impossible to know where we are compared to other teams as we have not seen everyone’s true pace, but if we can achieve a top 15 to top ten in St Pete, we will be happy.”

Harvey said his practice sessions ahead of the new season had been promising.

“We had a really strong two days of testing. The car ran well, we had good pace straight out of the box and we made gains from day to day,” he said.

“Considering these were our first two days of testing for the season, we could not have asked for a better start.

“It was also awesome to see the whole team working so well together.

“We are a new team, but there has been immediate chemistry between everyone, which is so important and we now just cannot wait to get started.”

'New car looks fantastic'

Harvey said he was confident with his new car, which he believes could improve his times.

“The new car looks fantastic. Clearly we have lost a lot of carbon from last year, which means a reduction in downforce.

“This is the biggest change you can feel as a driver — you still have the speed and the car is still performing at one of the highest levels in racing, but now the car feels lighter and you are moving around more.

“Less downforce also means the cars are exposed more mechanically, so everyone will be working hard on this.

“At this stage it is hard to tell what impact it will have as we have only been in testing conditions where you naturally back off when you get close to another car, so we have not had an experience yet of running the cars in racing conditions.

“In theory, less downforce should mean that the cars can get closer, which would be great for drivers and fans alike, but until we get to St Pete, it is hard to tell.”