After a solid Indy Lights season and a second place finish in the Indianapolis 500, Carlos Muñoz is moving up to the IndyCar Series in 2014 with Andretti Autosport. The Columbian say he is glad to have received the opportunity after that solid performance at Indianapolis Motor Speedway.
“That race just give me the opportunity to be here, no, in a full season,” he commented. “It was an awesome race. I didn’t cross the finish line first, so I never will know what would happen without the yellow flag. That was 2013. Now is 2014. I have another chance to go get that race.
“I’m focused on this year. For sure all last year race going to be in my mind for all my life. But now I have my chance and I have to think and work for it.”
Muñoz is part of what is being dubbed the youth movement right now in the IndyCar Series wit the new faces that are joining the series. Muñoz hopes the agressive nature of the young starts, like him, can help draw more fans to the series.
“IndyCar wants drivers really constant that don’t do a lot of mistakes, to finish all the races,” he added. “But now they’re giving the opportunity to young drivers, the people in Colombia are following the IndyCar again. We can attract more people. That’s the goal not only for me, but all the drivers, to build IndyCar as it was back then.”
Being the young star, he will have his teammates at AA to lean on with Ryan Hunter-Reay, Marco Andretti and James Hinchcliffe. Muñoz says that they are a really close group and they are willing to be there and help each other.
“Ryan is an IndyCar champion, Marco has a great feeling, and James also is a great driver,” Muñoz said. “We’re going to have fun this year. I’m going to learn from them this year. We’ll see what happen in the end of the year.”
Compared to his teammates, Muñoz says that he’s the quiet, shy guy of the group.
“I’m quiet and shy compared to James. He’s always talking, making jokes, completely different mind,” he commented. “But they treat me as one of them. They treat me really well.
“James talks a lot. Ryan is in between. Marco, I think we’re more quiet guy. I think it’s a great combination for all the team.”
Muñoz will enter the series at what is being called an opportune time for the Columbian due to the return of fellow Columbian Juan Pablo Montoya to the series.
“(It) is great for us. For media star, for name, a lot of Colombia people follow him in Colombia. He’s been one of the best drivers Colombia ever have,” the young driver commented. “A lot of people are going to follow IndyCar. Maybe there’s going to be another Colombian, too. People start to talking a lot that there’s three Colombians on IndyCar, like back to Juan Pablo. When he won the Champ Car, the Indy 500, there were a lot of people following him. It’s going to be great for me and Seb, for sure.”
Muñoz has always followed Montoya’s career, saying that it was a symbol for him as a kid to get to where he wanted to be and says they have a good relationship now.
“He called me last year. We have known him a lot, giving me some little tips about the race and everything,” he commented. “I have some pictures of him when I was small. He was at a go-kart race with his brother when I was small. It’s a strange feeling when you’re small, you’re looking at him as a big driver.
But once I’m here, you just put your helmet on, everyone is the same. You don’t think, Who is this guy, or what he’s done. Hopefully going to be great. Hopefully we going to be fighting in the top position. For sure it will be great for us to be fighting each other in the top positions.”