David Malukas

David Malukas didn’t just sign a contract to join a new NTT INDYCAR SERIES team for the 2024 season. He committed to a life change.

Imagine a driver who has raced throughout the world but has never lived outside of Chicago. He’s about to.

Earlier this week, Malukas, who last week turned 22, confirmed he will relocate to Indianapolis later this month to live near Arrow McLaren, where he will drive the team’s No. 6 car next season. It’s part of his life overhaul.

“A lot of big life changes going on, and a lot of new connections, a new format I’ve never worked with before,” Malukas said. “It will take getting used to all of it.

“But from my side, all of it has been amazing. I’ve enjoyed every single change that’s happened and just looking forward to the next big move.”

Malukas will drive alongside Pato O’Ward (No. 5) and Alexander Rossi (No. 7) on one of the NTT INDYCAR SERIES’ largest multicar teams, one which grew by 40 percent last year. In part because of the organization’s Formula One program, the resources available are immense, and the driver who spent the past two seasons with Dale Coyne Racing has been blown away by it.

The initial visit to Arrow McLaren’s shop created what felt like a day of introductions, and even the tour of the facility was more than he anticipated.

“Everything has been a shock to me,” Malukas said. “Every single corner I take (in the shop) I’m like, ‘Whoa, that’s crazy.’ And then I take a left and it’s, ‘Oh, even more crazy.’ Then you go up the stairs, it’s, ‘Oh, my, it keeps going.’ It’s been amazing.

“I’d say as a whole the team is just so organized, and everybody has a purpose and works so fluidly (with) the connections and everything. It’s just super well-perfected, and to me it made me so happy being part of it and being part of the team. Everybody was just so friendly … the kind of people you want to be surrounded with.”

Malukas said the decision to move to Indianapolis was driven by a desire to regularly interact with the staff, including the engineer that has not yet been publicly revealed. O’Ward and Rossi also live in town, which adds to the connectivity. While he hasn’t yet spent much time with Rossi, he and O’Ward worked extensively together at a recent test at Sebring (Fla.) International Raceway. Malukas listened to O’Ward’s radio communication and studied his data before getting in the car to experience Arrow McLaren’s Chevrolet for the first time.

On another day, Malukas worked with Arrow McLaren’s content team to create material for the upcoming season. While he is known to be fast on track, he said the team will need to slow him down in the social media arena.

“Some of the stuff I come up with is a little big,” he said. “They’re going to have to bring me back a little bit. It’s like, ‘This is still a corporation; let’s calm down a little bit.’

“I was trying to get with Pato and Rossi, (asking) to get different angles and different shots and all this stuff, trying to get as much content as we could. There’s definitely a lot of good stuff coming. I think it’s a good trio of Rossi always being (against) doing anything and me and Pato being a little more high energy. I think it’s just like Rossi is our dad, and we’re the kids. It’s a really good trio.”

Malukas said he has spent considerable time working with Gavin Ward, who earlier this week received the title of team principal, and former driver Tony Kanaan, now the team’s sporting director. He was given a training and nutrition program to follow. It’s all part of being “spoiled” by the resources available.

It adds up to a complete change of scenery, in and out of the workplace.

“From the (Sept. 8) announcement until now, it’s been a lot of different emotions – from excited to nervous to back to (being) excited, feeling comfortable, happy,” Malukas said. “It’s all been very, very good.

“I’m still pinching myself that all this is happening; it makes me so happy. I walk around – wherever I go – and feel I’ve achieved another dream of mine that I’ve had since I was a kid.”

The 2024 season opens Sunday, March 10 with the Firestone Grand Prix of St. Petersburg presented by RP Funding on NBC.