Ed Carpenter Racing announced on Tuesday a new driver development program featuring Josh Pierson. The 16-year-old will continue his ascent through the Road to Indy ranks with the intent of competing in the NTT INDYCAR SERIES in 2025 with ECR. Pierson, an Oregon native, will have the guidance and support of ECR team members as he furthers his career and will be mentored by team owner Ed Carpenter. Additionally, Pierson will begin testing one of ECR’s Chevrolet-powered Indy cars in 2023.
Behind the wheel since he was just two years old, Pierson already has a long list of accomplishments and the young driver’s resume grows more today by becoming the first-ever development driver for Ed Carpenter Racing. “I’m honored by the confidence Ed Carpenter has placed in me and so incredibly grateful to have a path to INDYCAR with Ed Carpenter Racing,” stated Pierson. “I’ve been dreaming about racing in the NTT INDYCAR SERIES for as long as I can remember!”
Pierson has been re-writing the history books for several years, collecting accolades and victories as he progresses towards the NTT INDYCAR SERIES. After a decade of karting experience with numerous championships and national titles, he began racing open-wheel cars at 13. At ages 14 and 15, he was the youngest driver on the grid in the Road to Indy’s USF2000. In early 2022, he became the youngest driver to participate in IMSA’s Rolex 24 Hours of Daytona. Just two months later, he earned the title of the youngest race winner in the FIA’s World Endurance Championship (WEC) with a victory at the 1000 Miles of Sebring. As of June of 2022, he is the youngest starter in the history of the 24 Hours of Le Mans and finished 10th overall. This past weekend in Bahrain, Pierson concluded his 2022 WEC season with a 2nd place in the race, 3rd place in the championship standings and was named WEC’s equivalent of Rookie of the Year.
Reaching the NTT INDYCAR SERIES is part of a five-year program for Pierson. For the next two years, he will focus on INDY NXT, formerly known as Indy Lights. INDY NXT is the final step in the Road to Indy before the NTT INDYCAR SERIES. With plans for a partial season in 2023, he will challenge for the INDY NXT championship in 2024 as he races the full calendar. Carpenter, the only active owner/driver in the NTT INDYCAR SERIES, will mentor Pierson while working towards the goal of Pierson competing for ECR in 2025 and beyond.
Carpenter is excited for the long-term future of ECR and is confident in the addition of Pierson as a development driver. “I have truly enjoyed getting to know Josh Pierson and his family. For such a young man, he has already accomplished so much in his racing career. Along with that, he is such a well-spoken and professional person,” commented Carpenter. “I am confident with the plan that we have in place that he will develop into a complete racing driver. We very much look forward to working with him as we finalize his path to the NTT INDYCAR SERIES starting in 2025.”
The 2023 race season will see Pierson build upon his experience in multiple disciplines, competing in both U.S.-based and international series. Stateside, he will compete in a partial INDY NXT schedule with HMD Motorsports. He will also aim to continue his endurance racing success in LMP2 with United Autosports, competing across the globe in the FIA World Endurance Championship. As part of his development driver program with ECR, Pierson will begin testing in one of the team’s Chevrolet-powered NTT INDYCAR SERIES cars in 2023.
Pierson made his INDY NXT testing debut on October 21, 2022 at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway road course with HMD Motorsports. Both the 2023 INDY NXT and NTT INDYCAR SERIES seasons will begin the first weekend of March in the Streets of St. Petersburg, Fla. ECR will continue to campaign two full-time entries, the No. 20 BitNile Chevrolet driven by Conor Daly and the Rinus VeeKay’s No. 21 BitNile Chevrolet. Carpenter will join Daly and VeeKay for the four oval races, expanding ECR’s lineup to three cars for those events.