Esteban Gutierrez confirmed for Coyne No. 18 Honda in Detroit

Photo: David Yowe/INDYCAR

By Aaron Bearden, Motorsports Editor

Fresh off of a Month of May dominated by active and former Formula 1 stars, another recent presence in the international series has been confirmed for a Verizon IndyCar Series debut.

Dale Coyne Racing announced Thursday morning that Esteban Gutierrez will pilot the team’s No. 18 Honda in this weekend’s Chevrolet Detroit Grand Prix doubleheader in Belle Isle Park.

Gutierrez, 25, will replace the injured Sebastien Bourdais, who has been out of the car since his crash during qualifications for the 101st Running of the Indianapolis 500.

“I’m very grateful to join Dale Coyne Racing, a highly competitive team,” Gutierrez said in a release. “When Dale Coyne called me, I had no doubt that this would be a great opportunity for me to get experience in the Verizon IndyCar Series. My target is to learn as quickly as possible. IndyCar is a very challenging series for drivers, but I feel ready to take this chance.

“I’m excited about my debut races at the Detroit Grand Prix and I cannot wait to start working with the team, engineers and Honda, as well as driving a Dallara car again. I have very good memories of my successful GP3 and GP2 Series seasons with the Dallara cars and I worked very well with them at Haas F1 Team. I will do my best for Dale Coyne Racing, Honda and all the Mexican fans.”

The Monterrey, Mexico native will make his Indy car debut in the attempt. Gutierrez previously made his name competing in Formula 1, first from 2012-13 with Sauber F1 team, then again in 2016 with the newly-formed Haas F1 team. The 25-year-old also has experience competing in the GP2 Series, as well as handling test driver responsibilities for Scuderia Ferrari from 2014-15.

Prior to his announcement with Coyne, Gutierrez was last seen in the FIA Formula E paddock, where he’s made three starts in the current season for Techeetah.

“We’re going to miss having Sebastien in the (No.) 18 car, but we’re very happy with our choice of a replacement for him this weekend,” DCR owner Dale Coyne said. “Esteban has a great open-wheel racing background, especially with his time in Formula One and the GP2 Series. I think he’ll do well in an Indy car despite the learning curve and we all look forward to seeing what he’ll do this weekend in Detroit.”

Gutierrez will replace James Davison in DCR machine. Davison competed for the team in the Indy 500, rising from last on the grid to lead laps – the third time such a feat has been accomplished following Tom Sneva (1980) and Alex Tagliani (2016).

Davison confirmed earlier in the week that he would be out of the car in this week’s races.

The future of the No. 18 Honda beyond Detroit remains unannounced.

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