Prema Racing, one of the most successful teams competing on the European open-wheel ladders that lead to Formula 1, is considering an expansion into the U.S. with an NTT IndyCar Series program.
The Italian organization, which won FIA Formula 2 championships with Charles Leclerc (2017), Mick Schumacher (2020), and Oscar Piastri (2021), and earned the European Le Mans Series LMP2 title in 2022, is currently evaluating a North American move that would complement its global presence with formula cars and prototypes. Speaking with RACER, a team representative confirmed Prema is “investigating” the formation of an IndyCar program but declined to go into greater detail.
Along with its positions in F2 and LMP2, Prema also races in most of the known junior open-wheel championships in its home continent and internationally with programs across nearly a dozen series.
Prema’s reach within the past and present IndyCar paddock is significant. Among the current drivers in the field for 2024, Chip Ganassi Racing’s Marcus Armstrong and Meyer Shank Racing’s Felix Rosenqvist have driven for team, and two of its better graduates in Robert Schwartzman and Nick Cassidy tested for Ganassi within the last year. Its roster of IndyCar alumni also includes eight-time race winner Ryan Briscoe, Stefano Coletti, Callum Ilott, Charlie Kimball and Carlos Munoz.
“That would be a dream come true,” Rosenqvist told RACER. “It would reunite me with my old friends there. I raced with them in 2008 for one race in Spa and in 2015 when we won the FIA European Formula 3 championship together. They’re awesome. They’re the best team in Europe, outside of F1. If they were to come over here, they would be a force to reckon with.”
In Formula 1, Prema can count Leclerc, Piastri, Pierre Gasly, Logan Sargeant, Zhou Guanyu and Lance Stroll — more than 25 percent of the grid — as graduates of its program.
If Prema is able to establish itself in IndyCar, it would continue in the tradition of Carlin Racing, another powerhouse open-wheel ladder team from Europe which made the expansion into North America in 2015. Carlin, now known as Rodin Racing, won the Indy Lights championship in 2016 with Ed Jones and moved to IndyCar in 2018, where it competed for four seasons.
RACER understands former Arrow McLaren and Rahal Letterman Lanigan Racing team executive Piers Phillips has been recruited by Prema to assist in the endeavor, and the earliest it would happen is for 2025.
Among IndyCar’s 10 full-time entrants, Juncos Hollinger Racing and Meyer Shank Racing rank as its newest teams, with both joining the series as part-time ventures in 2017 before ramping up to season-long campaigns. With Prema added to the list, IndyCar has a wave of newfound interest for 2025 and beyond with at least three teams, including Pratt Miller Engineering and Abel Motorsports, in the process of either evaluating or actively building towards participating in the championship.