Conor Daly

During a brief search for info on American driver Conor Daly whilst looking into GP3 I thought the guy, and the sheer amount of competitions he’s been doing of late would be worth a thread to himself so here I am writing it.

Conor Daly is the 21 year old son of former F1 and Indy Car driver Derek Daly. Derek was Irish born but after his F1 career came to an end in 1982 (quite a successful year for Williams by his standards) he switched over to the Indy Car’s in America and raced there until 1989 with the occasional good result. It was after his career ended in 1991 that his boy Conor was born, in Indianapolis of all places. The apple never falls too far from the tree and Conor has followed in his father’s footsteps and gone into racing and is showing some real potential.

In 2010 Conor Daly won the Star Mazda Championship, pretty much dominating the thing with 7 wins from 13 and 9 poles. The following season he raced 5 races in Indy Lights (including a win) but, probably on the advice of his father, went against the traditional US path and made the switch over to europe to drive for Carlin in the GP3 series. He was 19 at the time and only notched up 10 points from 16 races but enough potential was seen in him to gain a seat with Lotus GP for the 2012 season. He did not disappoint and grabbed his first GP3 win in the sprint race at Barcelona. He scored 4 other podiums as the season went on was invited to do a straight line test for Force India F1 team.

Having started to build a reputation for himself Daly decided to keep busy during the offseason by going over to India to take part in the MRF Challenge Formula 2000 series which ran from October to Feb over 10 races. He took the title by 5 points and looked mightily impressive crossing back over to America part way through the series to test Indy Cars before returning to take the title. As this series finished Daly them made his way to Malaysia to drive the first round of the GP2 Series for new GP2 team Hilmer Motorsport giving them their first ever points in the series when he scored a 7th place finish in the sprint race. Daly then announced he would be competing in another full season of GP3 with ART Grand Prix and was given the number 1 car as ART are the reigning champions. Daly took part in the first round of GP3 this weekend at Barcelona scoring a 3rd in the feature race and a 5th in the sprint race. After the sprint race finished on Sunday morning he had a race to get to the airport and just about made a plane back to the states (really only just, apparently he traveled in his race overalls and his luggage didn’t make the plane) where he’ll begin practice sessions to take part in the Indy 500 for A.J. Foyt Racing who are the team Indy championship leader Takuma Sato is currently driving for and the team Daly tested for(and impressed) in December.

After he does Indy he’ll then fly back to Europe and race the rest of the season with ART in GP3 and there are also rumors he may be named as Force India reserve driver and get some Friday practice sessions for them after the GP3 series ends. Don’t know about you but I’m tired just writing about all of that! Would not be shocked to hear he was jumping in for Le Mans too at this rate.

In reading all of this I wondered if young Daly has hit on the best way for a young driver to develop himself. He’s driving everywhere and everything and is certainly building himself a reputation. Should more young drivers take this attitude or is Daly in a unique position because he has a father who straddles the U.S and the European scene? Also interested to hear our American posters (KekeTheKing, Westy @Siffet_Fan) think on Daly and whether they think that if he did choose F1 (it might be he goes for Indy) whether he would up the interest of the American viewer or would they still see him as a European?

Just to end with Daly is probably most famous at the moment for this crash at Monaco in the GP3 last year. I wonder if thats why they aren’t having GP3 at the principality this season!

 

Westy

Pole Sitter
Conor is getting a lot of love on the NBC Sports Network (where F1 is broadcast over here). Daly's impact in America will be measured by media coverage and F1 receives no media coverage outside programming already geared to the sport.

The likes of ESPN would have to pick Daly up as a "feel good" story in the hopes that he could garner some support then cover the sport in turn.

Here's hoping.
 

soccerman17

Race Winner
Give the man some credit he was third to last! I think he will find the speed though he's a bit behind having some crashes. I am a bit worried about him getting through 200 laps though given that.
 

RasputinLives

Leave me alone I'm on Smoko
Contributor
For those of you unaware Conor was classed as finishing the Indy 500 a respectable 22nd.

However he seems to have really fallen off it in GP3 having scored only 2 points in the last five races. His weekend at Silverstone was ruined by a jumpnstart and he looked pff the pace all weekend in Germany whislt his team mates Regalia and Harvey are dueling at the front. He's slipped to 5th in the title race a full 39 points behind now.

No signs of that F1 connection now either. Maybe he's over stretched himself.
 

KekeTheKing

Banned
Supporter
I was pretty disappointed to see that Daly doesn't have a ride anywhere for the 2014 season. He was dropped from FI last year after he was unable to win the GP3 crown, and he doesn't come with much (any?) personal sponsorship. He couldn't even secure a drive in the IRL, where the non-paying seats get fewer every year. There is hope though, as last year Robin Frijns started out in a similar position and his career is still alive.
 

RasputinLives

Leave me alone I'm on Smoko
Contributor
Just let you know KekeTheKing that Connor was driving for Venezula GP at the GP2 test today so he has not given up on the European race scene.

Venezula GP are yet to confirm their GP2 line up for 2014 so looks like Daly might be in line.
 

FB

Not my cup of cake
Valued Member
He could always go to Australia and do some mining work to buy an F1 seat, like his dad did.
 

Incubus

Champion Elect
Never knew that about Derek Daly... kind of ironic to think he was earning a living working several feet below ground level, when he spent so much of his racing career flying several feet above it. :)
 

FB

Not my cup of cake
Valued Member
I think it was to fund his junior career rather his entry into F1. There was another Irish driver who did the same but I'm damned if I can remember who he is.
 

soccerman17

Race Winner
According to Will Buxton's twitter Daly was on a flying lap with the fastest time through the second sector before a slow car got in his way and they crashed.
 

RasputinLives

Leave me alone I'm on Smoko
Contributor
Yep that was Regalia who, finishing as runner up, was very erratic in GP3 last year. I think he and Daly had a couple of coming togethers last year as well!
 
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