American Le Mans Series race-winner Scott Sharp is confident that he can quickly re-adapt to the IndyCar Series when he returns for the Indianapolis 500.
Sharp announced yesterday that he will drive for Panther Racing at Indy this year. He raced Indycars from 1994 to the end of 2007 before switching to sportscars with Highcroft Acura.
"I've done a lot of laps at Indy and run a lot of laps in the Dallara so hopefully after a year and a half out of those cars it will be a bit like getting back on an old bike and it will all come back to me pretty quickly," said Sharp.
"Until I do it, I am not sure how long that will take. I'm not expecting it will take too long.
"I will be able to get acclimatised on the last days of rookie orientation and that will be great to get some miles in a low pressure situation."
When news of Sharp's planned return to Indianapolis first broke, there were suggestions that Highcroft would branch out into the IndyCar Series to run him. Sharp confirmed that this had been a possibility before team owner Duncan Dayton decided his squad needed to focus solely on its new LMP1 programme this year.
"Duncan has been fantastic," said Sharp. "He was part of a lot of these early Indy discussions and I think smartly he has wanted to keep his eye on the ball with the LMP1 championship at the moment.
"We have quite an opportunity over there with Patron and Acura - a new car to develop and a championship to win. There are a lot of eggs in that basket over there but Duncan is still keen on experiencing the Indy 500 and we have a few of our guys at Patron Highcroft with a lot of IndyCar experience.
"It will be great to get a couple of our Highcroft guys to come across and assist me at Panther. Duncan will be there himself as well."
Although pole qualifying and the race itself do not clash with the ALMS, the second weekend of qualifying - which sets positions 22 to 33 on the Indy grid - coincides with the ALMS round at Miller Motorsports Park. Sharp thinks this is a surmountable problem.
"Obviously the goal is to get into the race on day one," he said. "Qualifying has certainly got pretty exciting in the past couple of years and we'll certainly look at back-up plans if we need to.
"Ryan Briscoe was able to do both the 500 and the ALMS Salt Lake event (in 2007) so we know it is certainly do-able."