2016 Indy Lights champion Ed Jones will step up into the Verizon IndyCar Series in 2017 after signing with Dale Coyne Racing to partner Sebastien Bourdais.
Jones clinched the Indy Lights title while driving for Carlin, taking two wins and eight podium finishes as well as a season-high eight pole positions, and the Dubai-born racer admits he is amazed it took only two years of racing in the United States to reach IndyCar.
Jones also revealed that he had conversations with other teams about a potential ride in 2017, but felt that Dale Coyne’s team was the best option for him, and he will run the #18 car next season.
“I’m hugely excited about stepping up to the Verizon IndyCar Series next year with Dale Coyne Racing,” insisted Jones. “To reach an agreement as early as we have done is great news as it gives me plenty of time to settle into the team and get to know everybody properly so we can prepare as well as possible for the season ahead.
“IndyCar has been my goal ever since I left Europe to come and race in America, and it’s crazy to think I’ll be joining the grid just two years after moving stateside. Together with my management team and sponsors, I’ve worked so hard for this opportunity and I fully intend to grab it by the scruff of the neck and make the most of it.
“Although we spoke to a few teams, Dale Coyne Racing always stood out as the best option and Dale worked hard to make the deal happen.”
Team owner Coyne has welcomed Jones to his outfit, and is looking forward to the new season that begins around the streets of St Petersburg in March.
“Ed had a couple of remarkable seasons in Indy Lights and we’re very excited to have him join our team for his rookie IndyCar campaign,” said Coyne. “I attended the season finale at Laguna Seca and Ed demonstrated a lot of poise, maturity and determination while under pressure, knowing that the championship was on the line. Those are all qualities that will serve him well in IndyCar. I was very impressed with what I saw.
“It’s always a pleasure to work with young drivers and see them evolve as the season goes by. We’re excited to be able to get things going this early in the off-season with both of our drivers, and as I said when we confirmed Sebastien, we’re very much looking forward to the 2017 season.”