After beginning his formula racing career just two seasons ago, Niels Koolen will continue to build his resume this upcoming season in the 2024 INDY NXT by Firestone championship with HMD Motorsports. The 22-year-old Dutch driver, managed by A-14 Management, will drive the #33 entry and is the eighth confirmed driver for the team.
While still relatively new to open-wheel racing, Koolen has competed in four separate championships in the past two years, including select races in the Italian F4 Championship and the F4 Spanish Championship in 2022. Last season, Koolen raced in all but one round of the Formula Regional Middle East Championship and the entire season of the Formula Regional European Championship by Alpine (FRECA).
“Last year I practiced and tested a lot at various circuits with different cars,” explained Koolen. “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.”
As 2023 was Koolen’s first full season since moving up from the international karting scene, he will be coming into INDY NXT by Firestone eager to learn and continue advancing his career. Joining the back-to-back championship team of HMD Motorsports, Koolen will have abundant data, a knowledgeable crew, and experienced teammates.
“Niels is taking a different approach than many drivers,” explained HMD Motorsports’ General Manager Mike Maurini. “He has tested in a lot of cars at a variety of different courses this past year to build his experience. We look forward to working with Niels and A-14 Management in 2024.”
Koolen will make his INDY NXT by Firestone debut on the Streets of St. Petersburg but will continue his intense offseason test program on January 15 and 16 in Sebring, Florida. Koolen will join returning series drivers Christian Bogle, Nolan Siegel, Josh Pierson, and Reece Gold, as well as reigning USF Pro 2000 Champion Myles Rowe and team newcomers Jonathan Browne and Callum Hedge.
Photo Credit: Penske Entertainment