Austrian racing driver René Binder has been signed by Juncos Racing to compete part-time in the 2018 Verizon IndyCar Series. Binder will race in four events of this year’s championship, joining Indy Lights driver Kyle Kaiser, who was signed by the team on a similar deal back in October.
René, twenty-six years old, will make his North American racing debut when he takes to the track in the #32 Chevrolet for the first time at St Petersburg. He will be back in the car at Barber Motorsports Park in April and will then have a few months until his next appearance at the streets of Toronto in July. His final race will come at Mid-Ohio Sports Park the week after Toronto.
Binder is also the second European racing driver to have secured a seat in as many days, with fellow former GP2 Series driver Jordan King having been signed, also on a partial schedule, by Ed Carpenter Racing yesterday.
“I am honoured to be a part of the Verizon IndyCar Series for the 2018 season,” said Binder in a statement for Juncos Racing. “I have been a huge fan of INDYCAR and what the series has to offer to me as a driver. I had a hard decision to make this year on which path I would take in my career, and I am confident that I made the right decision. Right now, we have signed for four races, but I hope to add more to our schedule as the season progresses. I would like to thank my sponsors, family and Juncos Racing for giving me this opportunity.”
Binder has spent his whole racing career so far competing in European single-seater championships. He made single-seater debut back in 2009 in the ADAC Formel Masters championship before transitioning to German Formula Three.
René made his GP2 Series debut at the end of 2012 for Venezuela GP Lazarus and would remain with the team for a full campaign in 2013. Further years, both full-time and part-time, in the sport with teams such as Arden International, Trident, MP Motorsport, ART, Carlin and Rapax would follow, but his seventy-two starts would only yield a best championship finish of twenty-second in 2015, with his best race finish being a sixth-place finish in the 2013 Monaco sprint race.
The best showing of René’s career so far came when he began racing in Formula V8 3.5 full-time in 2015 for Lotus. He reached the podium a number of times in his first full year in the sport, but he’d finally reach the top step in 2017 when swept both race victories at Monza before hitting the front again at COTA and Bahrain later in the season.
“I am happy to welcome René (Binder) to our team and we are thrilled to be a part of his North American debut,” said Team Owner Ricardo Juncos. “René has a successful background running in the World Series V8 and GP2, along with the testing he has done within Formula 1, and I know he will carry that momentum into the Verizon IndyCar Series this year. The timing is right for a talented driver like René to join, as everyone will be starting over with the new INDYCAR aero kits. I want to thank Reneé for choosing Juncos Racing for his INDYCAR debut, along with his sponsors and family for this opportunity.”
Juncos also confirmed that Binder’s first test in an IndyCar will come at the end of next month during their pre-season testing. After that, he will have to wait just a couple of weeks before he makes his race debut in the season-opening race at St Petersburg on March 11.