Exclusive interview | We’re “much faster than where we are starting” — Conor Daly confident of strong Indy 500 performance

Photo Credit: Penske Entertainment | Dana Garrett
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Former GP3 race winner and GP2 driver Conor Daly is set to contest his 11th Indy 500 on Sunday. The IndyCar veteran has finished in the top ten the last two years. For the 108th Indy 500, Daly starts 29th.

While the starting position is not what he would like, he feels that his car can move up through the pack on race day.

“We ran into a little bit of a bad luck issue in qualifying,” he said. “We are much faster than where we are starting, which is good. You can definitely feel a lot more confident about where you are when you know there is speed in the car. We are pumped about the race, and we will see what happens.”

“We are definitely faster than the cars around us,” Daly said.

“Carb day is interesting because you can either confirm some things or deny some things you are trying. These cars are super sensitive to ride height,” he said. “If you fall out of the window, you feel like you have done something terrible, but when you go back to the data, you realise that you have fallen out of the downforce window.

“We figured a few things out which is nice, and we know where we want to be for the race. Hopefully, we put all the puzzle pieces in the right place for the race.”

The son of Formula One driver Derek Daly spent his formative years of racing in Europe, competing in GP3 and GP2, the main feeder series categories as drivers look to make the jump to F1.

“As a young driver, when you are coming through the ranks, you have to build that pyramid of experience,” Daly said. “You want to strengthen your base before you can go up top. So that’s what we did. We competed against the best in the world all across the world.”

Daly continued, “We won everything in America, so we basically had to move to Europe to be better. My dad wanted me to go against the best, and we were at the time. It was really cool. Winning races over there was very satisfying. Driving a Formula One car and being a part of that world was awesome.”

While the racing was a positive, Daly says that there were some negatives. “It is also very cutthroat, he said. “You have got to get a lot of things going your way. You have to have the financial backing, which we really didn’t have.”

Daly had the opportunity to race on some of the greatest tracks in the world, but one stands out to him.

“Spa is the best. Spa is the best road course on the planet. Such an amazing place in a high horsepower car,” he said. “When I was doing GP2, F2 now, it was a pretty impressive circuit, and I hope to race there again.”

Daly is thankful for his time in Europe.

“It was a great experience. Going up against all those folks for sure was a building of experience that I’ll use throughout my career.”

See the interview in full below: