Estaban Gutierrez to complete IndyCar season with Dale Coyne Racing

Bret Kelley/INDYCAR

By Aaron Bearden, Motorsports Editor

The driver of the No. 18 Dale Coyne Racing (DCR) Honda is TBA no more.

Ex-Formula 1 driver Estaban Gutierrez will complete the rest of the Verizon IndyCar Series for DCR beginning with this weekend’s KOHLER Grand Prix at Road America, the team confirmed Thursday.

Gutierrez will serve as a substitute for Sebastien Bourdais, who was sidelined indefinitely with a broken pelvis and other injuries sustained in an Indianapolis 500 qualifying shunt. He’ll also bring an end to what had previously been a continual shuffle of drivers, with James Davison, Gutierrez and Tristan Vautier all piloting the machine over the previous three race weekends.

The 25-year-old driver made his debut with DCR in Belle Isle Park at Detroit, Michigan, finishing 19th and 14th in the doubleheader Chevrolet Detroit Grand Prix.

The Monterrey, Mexico native surrendered the position to Vautier when he wasn’t cleared to compete on the high-speed Texas Motor Speedway oval, but appears poised to complete the rest of the season, set for an oval debut at Iowa Speedway.

“I’m very happy to finally announce my racing program for the rest of the season,” Gutierrez said in a DCR release. “To represent Mexico in the Verizon IndyCar Series has a huge significance to all the fans that have been following the series through history and I’m very grateful to fill in this position.

“IndyCar has highly competitive teams and drivers and the challenge for me will be great, but I will use all my experience from Formula 1 with Sauber, HAAS F1 Team and Ferrari in order to adapt quickly to the car and the tracks. I look forward to continue working with Dale Coyne Racing and Honda, I put my trust in them to achieve great results together. I cannot wait to jump in my Unifin #18 car at Road America this weekend!”

Gutierrez arrived at Coyne in May amid his first season of FIA Formula E competition. The Mexican shoe also has experience in Formula 1, having competed for Sauber F1 Team from 2013 to 2014 and Haas F1 team in 2016, with one season as a Scuderia Ferrari test driver in 2015.

Road America will be a familiar sight for Gutierrez. The 25-year-old previously competed at the course in 2007 Formula BMW USA Series, and completed a test session with teammate Ed Jones at the 4.048-mile facility last week.

“We’re very pleased that Esteban can join us for the remainder of the season,” DCR owner Dale Coyne said. “Esteban did a very good job in Detroit despite having a lot to learn in a short amount of time. He fit in very well with the team and I look forward to our next races with him, starting with Road America this week.”

With Gutierrez confirmed, DCR’s full-time driver lineup is again set. Both Gutierrez and Jones will make their Road America debuts this weekend.

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