While IndyCar drivers revel in the long offseason to do non-IndyCar related wedding things: Marco Andretti getting married with IndyCar drivers in attendance (Congratulations Marco) and IndyCar champion Josef Newgarden officiating a friend’s wedding; teams, specifically Chip Ganassi Racing, were busy getting things ready for 2018.
Twitter: Happy Day After, @katdonn + @NJordonLove … and Officiant/#INDYCAR Champion @josefnewgarden… https://t.co/4dFLTqmcmd (@CKightlinger)
There was quite a lot done in the nine days since Newgarden was crowned IndyCar champion, so in this week’s Notebook we’ll look at the team confirmations from the first week of the IndyCar offseason. Onwards to the Notebook.
CGR down to two cars
With the switch of CGR driver Tony Kanaan to A.J. Foyt Enterprises for 2018 and the loss of Charlie Kimball and Max Chilton; the four-car team in 2017 has announced it will downsize to two cars in 2018. The 16-time IndyCar champion team will still run the #9 and #10 cars in 2018.
The rumours of a downsize in the CGR camp were ripe during Sonoma, however the impact on team personnel, some 40 people affected, seems to be minimal given Ganassi’s involvement in other series. A potential downsize move was expected for CGR and Andretti Autosport, however the latter appears capable of holding on to its regular four-car team for 2018. With owner Michael Andretti adding that the team expects to run ‘5 or 6 cars’ at the Indianapolis 500 in 2018.
For CGR after the loss of Target sponsorship before the 2017 season for the #9 car of Dixon, the team scrambled to secure more permanent funding for the season. Despite a strong season from Dixon; Kanaan, Kimball, and Chilton underperformed leaving the team in a dire financial situation. Hopefully with a lessened financial burden, the team can find success with two cars next year.
CGR confirm Kiwi Brendon Hartley as Dixon’s 2018 team-mate
For 2018, CGR will be Team Kiwi. The team confirmed that 27-year-old New Zealander Hartley will be paired with four-time IndyCar champ and fellow Kiwi Dixon in 2018. Hartley won the 2015 World Endurance Championship with Porsche and is currently leading the 2017 campaign.
In addition to endurance racing, the 2015 WEC champion’s CV includes, competing in Formula Renault 3.5 and GP2 between 2009-2012, and serving as a test driver for Red Bull Racing and Mercedes in Formula 1.
This’ll be the first time in IndyCar history that two New Zealanders will be on the same team. The 2018 full-time grid so far is shaping up to be single country driver teams; with Andretti Autosport becoming Team America with four full-time American drivers, and now CGR.
If Canadian Robert Wickens is announced/confirmed at Schmidt Peterson Motorsports, the trend continues. With SPM becoming Team Canada with current driver, Canadian James Hinchcliffe.