The Indy NXT series is getting closer to having its field set with the signing of three more drivers in recent weeks taking the top step of the American junior open-wheel ladder to 15 confirmed entries to date.
Defending back-to-back champions HMD Motorsports have locked in seven drivers so far, with the latest hailing from the Netherlands in Niels Koolen and from Ireland with Jonathan Browne.
Koolen is making a big leap from karting to his first season of racing cars in 2023 in various Formula Region al and F4 machinery to NXT in 2024 with HMD.
“Last year I practiced and tested a lot at various circuits with different cars,” Koolen said. “Starting in the INDY NXT series in March will be an exciting experience as racing in the United States will be different than racing in Europe where we don’t have ovals. The entire HMD Motorsports program is very knowledgeable and experienced, and the team has a lot of drivers so we can compare a lot of data which will help me with unfamiliar circuits. I’m grateful to all the people supporting me.”
Browne lands in NXT after completing two seasons in the USF Championship’s Indy Pro 2000 series where he was a regular presence in the top 10 and stood on the podium on two occasions.
“I spoke to Jonathan a few times throughout the 2023 season,” said HMD GM Mike Maurini. “We recently re-engaged in conversations and finalized plans for the 2024 season rather quickly and just before the Thanksgiving holiday. Jonathan comes with a lot of experience in many forms of motorsports, and I am confident that he will fit in well with our strong driver lineup and provide another powerful piece to our growing puzzle.”
The other driver of interest to confirm his move to NXT is Jack William Miller, son of 1990s Indy Lights Class B champion and former Indy Racing League driver Jack Miller, whose Miller Vinatieri Motorsports squad is taking on the NXT challenge after fielding Miller in Indy Pro 2000.
“To say I am excited is an understatement,” the 20-year-old said. “I did my time in the ladder program, gaining experience along the way, and am ready for the future challenge. While we enter Indy NXT as a single-car program competing against some huge multi-car efforts, there are some positives that we hope we can capitalize on being a smaller program as I head into my rookie season.”
Miller’s father is understandably proud of his son’s progress.
“I raced five seasons in (Indy Lights) when I was younger and to watch my son succeed and move up the ladder is something very special to both myself, and my family,” he said. “His dream, much like mine was, is to compete in the Indy 500 and in IndyCar and the move to Indy NXT makes the dream one more step closer to becoming a reality.”