Schmidt Peterson Motorsport were giving the quick Briton a test this week with a view to giving Harvey a seat in a third car at one of the season ending rounds at either Watkins Glen or Sonoma, but shunted the car at turn six during the morning session that curtailed his day's running.
"Jack had a shunt at Turn 6 which is a little strange – not the usual place to crash there, and so unusual that there wasn't a protective tire wall there so he hit a concrete wall,' said team owner Sam Schmidt.
"It was a typical rookie off-course excursion in one sense, losing the back end, but without tires there, that is why there was so much damage and why he was done for the day.
"For both Zach [Claman De Melo] and him, we weren't really treating them like rookies; we had given them actual tasks, a bunch of aero and damper stuff that we needed to get through and couldn't use private days. So they had a strict regimen of things to do. But I want to say it was 11.30am, just before lunch, when Jack went off. He wasn't doing anything crazy.
"So we'll do a proper analysis of the car, because it's extremely unlike Jack. In two years of racing Indy Lights for us, he never put a wheel wrong and crashed, unless someone drove into him. So we'll look at it tomorrow and see what the deal was and go on.
"We had hoped to run Jack in a third car at either Watkins Glen or Sonoma, and use this test as a launch pad to create interest. But that might be too difficult now; I don't know."
Schmidt believes Harvey is deserving of a change within the Verizon IndyCar Series, and praised the Briton for not giving up on his career in the championship, never being far away from the team when they need assistance.
"Jack definitely has been deserving of a chance and has always raced well for us,' said Schmidt. "And he's spent the whole year sleeping on a couch in Indy and working for the team and helping out where he can; I give him credit for staying active and being a presence.
"But this accident may have thrown a wrench in our plans for this year at least, because it will be expensive. That would be a shame because I think he could be quite good in one of the big cars." Paul Hensby/CheckeredFlag
|Zachary Claman De Melo|
Schmidt Peterson Motorsports (SPM) announced today that drivers Zachary Claman De Melo and Jack Harvey will participate in the IndyCar test on Thursday at Mid-Ohio Sports Car Course.
Claman De Melo will test in the No. 7 car, currently piloted by Mikhail Aleshin, while Harvey will be in James Hinchcliffe's No. 5 car. Aleshin will "shake down" the two Indy cars by completing ten laps each on the 2.258-mile, 13-turn, natural terrain road course before Claman De Melo and Harvey begin testing.
Claman De Melo hails from Montreal, Quebec and currently drives the No. 13 car for Juncos Racing in the Indy Lights presented by Cooper Tires Series. The eighteen-year-old driver's career has progressed quickly since he started racing in 2009. His accolades include wins at eight (of eight) MSV F3 Cup Britain Invitational class races with four pole positions (2015), a second-place finish in the Rotax Senior Canadian National Karting Championship (2015), two wins (of four races) in the Skip Barber Winter Series with one pole position (2015), a victory at the Russell Karting Formula TaG Senior Florida Winter Tour (2014) and wins in the Senior Rotax Canadian and Eastern Canadian Senior Karting Championships (2014). He also won two national and four provincial karting titles between 2009 and 2013.
"I am excited about the test this week with Schmidt Peterson Motorsports," said Claman De Melo. "We have put a great deal of off-track preparation into my first IndyCar test. Sam Schmidt and his team are meticulous about introducing a driver to IndyCar, from fitting myself into the car, talking to engineers, going over the simulator, down to being physically and mentally fit for the challenge. Everyone at SPM is professional and I am thrilled that I have this opportunity with such an elite organization. I would like to thank IndyCar and SPM for believing and trusting in my abilities to perform at this level."
Harvey is a returning SPM driver, who competed full-time with the team in 2014 and 2015. In his debut year with SPM, the British driver finished second in the championship with four wins and ten podiums. He followed that up in 2015 with another second-place finish in the championship by earning two wins, six second-place finishes and 12 top-fives.
In addition, twenty-three-year-old Harvey's titles include British F3 (2012), CIK FIA Asia Pacific KF2 (2008), CIK FIA European KF3 (2007), Italian Open Masters KF3 (2007), Kartmasters Grand Prix (2007), Margutti Cup KF3 (2007), JICA Junior British Champion (2006), Kartmasters Grand Prix (2006), London Cup (2005), WTP 'O' Plate Champion (2004) and WTP Cadet Champion (2003).
"I'm really looking forward to getting back in an Indy car this week," said Harvey. "It's been a tough year but that's what makes the return to driving all the better. Mid-Ohio is a track I've done well at before so I'm hopeful that I can help the team with their testing plan moving forward. Thank you to SPM for giving me this opportunity and I can't wait to get started."
The July 21st test day will be open to the public from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. ET. Fans who have already purchased a ticket to the race and VIP season pass holders have free admission, otherwise the entry fee is $10. More information is can be found at www.MidOhio.com.