IndyCar got back to business this week, the teams anyway, confirming who will drive where and when. There were a few notable names involved in just the last 48 hours. International names. A Briton and two Brazilians. Can you guess who? If not, that’s why I’m here, onto the Notebook!
Stefan Wilson gets Indianapolis 500 drive
Twitter: Congrats @stef_wilson! #INDYCAR #Indy500 https://t.co/cCDTbzWvLz (@IndyCar)
The 28-year-old Briton will get his shot at Indy 500 immortality with Andretti Autosport this year. Wilson’s return to Andretti for the Indy 500 was a foregone conclusion; as the Briton’s exclusion from last year’s Indy 500 was part of the Fernando Alonso deal. It was widely reported that Wilson, the younger brother of the late Justin Wilson, gave up his Indy drive with Andretti to allow space for Alonso with stipulation that he return.
It’ll be interesting to see what Wilson can do at the Indy 500 and whether it’ll lead to a full-time drive in the near future. Wilson does have prior IndyCar experience, he drove one race for Dale Coyne Racing in 2013 and drove at the centennial Indy 500 in 2016. In addition, he has four years of Indy Lights experience; his best year being 2011 with Andretti, where he won two races and came 3rd in the Indy Lights championship.
Tony Kanaan confirmed at A.J Foyt
The 2013 Indy 500 winner will be joining his fifth IndyCar team in 16 years. It announced earlier this morning, that the 42-year-old Brazilian’s move to A.J. Foyt Enterprises is official.
Twitter: .@TonyKanaan will join @AJFoytRacing for the 2018 #INDYCAR season! https://t.co/Mv6pTdaxZF (@IndyCar)
News of Kanaan’s departure from Chip Ganassi Racing after four seasons came during the IndyCar finale in Sonoma. Kanaan replaces Carlos Munoz at Foyt after a disappointing first year at Foyt for the 25-year-old Colombian. Kanaan’s presumptive team-mate is Conor Daly, but Foyt team officials have yet to confirm the #4 car’s driver.
The move to the veteran Kanaan instead of sticking with the much younger Munoz may be engine-related. Foyt is entering a second year running Chevrolet engines, after a long-time partnership with Honda dating back to 2006. Kanaan has more experience with Chevy engines than Munoz; having ran them during his victorious 2013 Indy 500 campaign and while at CGR until the switch to Honda in 2017.
Helio Castroneves’ Penske IndyCar dynasty ends
Twitter: BREAKING: @h3lio will transition from full-time #INDYCAR competition in 2018: https://t.co/ggO9ytscox (@IndyCar)
Team Penske announced yesterday that Helio Castroneves, their longest-serving driver will move to spearhead the team’s IMSA entry for 2018. Will Power takes over at Penske as the team’s elder statesman, having been with the team since 2009. Castroneves spent 18 years with Penske starting in CART in 2000, winning three Indy 500s and 30 total wins.
Penske announced that with the 42-year-old Brazilian’s move to sports cars, that the IndyCar team will become a three-car operation in 2018. They also announced that Castroneves will return for the Indy 500 in May; in his chase for the elusive record fourth victory.
It was reported by Autoweek, that the Castroneves move to Penske’s IMSA entry may include Juan Pablo Montoya, another Penske veteran. Good luck in sports cars, Helio. Thank you for the memories.