HMD Rookie Collet Aims to Be Next Brazilian Star

via INDYCAR.com

Don’t be surprised to see Caio Collet, the 10th and final driver named to the HMD Motorsports camp for the 2024 INDY NXT by Firestone season, charging his No. 18 Dallara to the front by season’s end.

Brazilian driver Collet is a winner. He captured the French F4 championship in 2018. In 2019 and 2020, he raced in Formula Renault Eurocup, placing fifth and second in points, respectively. From 2021 to 2023, he competed in FIA Formula 3, where he scored three wins and 11 podium finishes. His best championship finish was eighth in 2022.

The next step to his racing journey brought him to the United States to race in INDYCAR’s development series this season with the reigning team champions.

“It’s one thing that I was quite happy about that,” Collet said. “It’s an opportunity, a unique opportunity that we have at HMD. We have a competitive car. They won the championship the last two years. So, I mean, there’s no excuse from my side. It makes me really happy. I think this is a great opportunity for every driver to know that your car can win races.”

Collet’s INDY NXT by Firestone debut last October came with HMD Motorsports at the Chris Griffis Memorial Test on the 2.439-mile Indianapolis Motor Speedway road course. He was fifth quickest. Collet found more pace in a November test at Barber Motorsports Park, finishing second overall.

That led to a strong official debut in the season-opening INDY NXT Grand Prix of St. Petersburg. After ending up third and second, respectively, in the pair of practice sessions, Collet qualified and finished seventh in his No. 18 HMD entry.

Collet remains humble and credits the team for that speed.

“They have a really competitive car; all I did was to drive it,” he said. “I never did something really different than that. I think all the tests that I’ve been in, we never made any changes to the car, to be honest.

“From my side, every time that they put the car on the track, after a few laps, it’s really competitive. There is not much work that needs to be done.”

Collet’s speed without much of his technical feedback bodes well for when he’s comfortable to share what he’s feeling inside the car.

Hopes of becoming the next Brazilian star in the NTT INDYCAR SERIES, following the tire tracks of Helio Castroneves and Tony Kanaan, are realistic. With a series that has a long lineage of Brazilian drivers, there’s an opportunity ahead for Collet to carry on the heritage.

Kanaan retired and became the sporting director for Arrow McLaren. Castroneves scaled back to focus his driving on the Indianapolis 500 presented by Gainbridge with daily duties on the ownership side of Meyer Shank Racing.

“I think it’s a great market and a great opportunity,” Collet said of climbing to the NTT INDYCAR SERIES. “So, it’s just extra motivation for myself.”

The 2024 INDY NXT by Firestone season resumes Sunday, April 28 at Barber Motorsports Park (11:05 a.m. ET, Peacock, INDYCAR Radio Network).