IndyCar Rookies To Know: Jack Harvey
With racing in his blood, the UK’s latest IndyCar driver has the pedigree to compete at the 500.
Having something in your blood is a term thrown around for people who are naturally good at something. For Jack Harvey, this phrase couldn’t be any truer.
Harvey has been around racing for as long as he’s been alive. His dad raced karts from a young age, and as recently as 2002 was winning championships in his class in the National Auto Grass Championship. Racing doesn’t just extend to Harvey’s dad—his uncle also races supercars.
For Harvey, racing came natural. He was exposed to it from the time he was born, and by the time he was 9, he was racing karts like his dad. With the old man’s encouragement, the younger Harvey made the switch from soccer to racing, and immediately fell in love with the sport.
“Motorsports have always been in my family,” Harvey says. “Not on the same scale as it is for the Andretti family. But certainly for Lincolnshire’s finest, we like to hope we are. When I was 9 years old, my dad got me a go-kart and it was either the best or worst decision of his life, depending on when you ask him.”
Six years after his karting career began, Harvey started his formula-racing career in the BMW Europe series, where he spent two years before transitioning over to the British Formula 3 Championship. After a ninth-place finish during his rookie season, Harvey dominated in his second season, winning seven races and finishing on the podium 12 times en route to a championship.
In 2014, Harvey made the move to come to America and competed for Schmidt Peterson Motorsports in the Indy Lights series. During that two-year span, Harvey competed in 30 races with six total wins and finished on the podium 18 times. In those two years with Indy Lights, Harvey finished second in the points standing.
Harvey’s biggest win during his Indy Lights career came in the 2015 Freedom 100 at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway. Despite only leading 10 of the 40 laps, Harvey made an important move in the latter stages of the race that helped seal the win. A wreck with two laps remaining secured Harvey’s victory at IMS.
While a win in the Freedom 100 was a huge moment, Harvey’s next race in Indianapolis will be even bigger. He is one of four rookies looking to cement their names in legacy as part of this year’s Indianapolis 500 field. Harvey is one of two rookies competing this year for Andretti Autosport; two-time Monaco Grand Prix winner Fernando Alonso will also partner with racing’s most-famous family. Along with Andretti Autosport, Harvey has also partnered with Michael Shank racing to compete in this year’s 500.
“To say I’m excited is an understatement,” Harvey said. “The fact that I now get to race in the biggest race of the year, at least in North America—one of the three biggest races in the world—and with one of the best teams on the grid, it’s a dream scenario. I’m just hoping we can keep this moving forward and we’re excited to get this month going.”
While racing has dominated the majority of Harvey’s life, his time outside of the car is spent with quieter reflection and a chess board (though he does admit his favorite off-track hobby is clay shooting). While he no longer plays soccer, he still keeps up with the sport he grew up loving, and is an avid fan of the Blackburn Rovers, even if “they’ve had a shocker of a season and have been relegated.”
Back on the track, Harvey is a fierce competitor with his cross-hairs focused on maximizing his rookie season. It’s not lost on him that recent history has proven rookies can win at Indy.
“What makes the 500 always so exciting is that if you’re still running with 30 laps to go, anything is possible,” Harvey said. “I’d like to be Rookie of the Year and finish in the top 10. This whole situation has been amazing, and I’m super proud to be living it.”