Dale Coyne Racing announce Vasser, Sullivan partnership for #18 car

by Jordan Groves

Dale Coyne Racing has announced that they have partnered with Jimmy Vasser and James Sullivan ahead of the 2018 Verizon IndyCar Series. The pair will merge with the team to form Dale Coyne Racing with Vasser Sullivan. In conjunction with today’s announcement, the team revealed the primary livery for the #18 Honda of Sebastian Bourdais; featuring new primary sponsor SealMaster.

“When Jimmy, Sulli and I met to discuss creating this partnership, it was very enticing,” said Dale Coyne, “They’ve had a lot of success in their previous years in IndyCar, and I’m thrilled to have them as partners. It’s an opportunity I couldn’t turn down as we move forward with this program. The future is bright, and we’re excited to get the season going with SealMaster onboard as a co-primary sponsor. Hopefully, we can continue the success Jimmy and Sulli have had, and that we’ve had with Sebastien.”

Of course, this is not the first time that Bourdais has driven for Vasser and Sullivan. Vasser, a former IndyCar driver himself, began venturing into team ownership in 2004. In 2011, he partnered with Sullivan for the first time, with the pair going to partner with KV Racing Technology / KVSH Racing from 2013 until 2016.

The partnership yielded an Indianapolis 500 victory in 2013 with Tony Kanaan, but the Brazilian would leave the team for Chip Ganassi Racing for the 2014 season. In stepped Bourdais, who went on to win four races over the course of the three seasons he ran with the team before flying the nest for Dale Coyne Racing before the 2017 season.

After hitting financial issues, KVSH Racing was forced to close up shop after the 2016 season. Now, Vasser and Sullivan will return to IndyCar competition after a year out, reuniting with Bourdais at Dale Coyne Racing.

“First, it’s great to be back,” Sullivan said in today’s statement from the team, “We took a step back last year to evaluate and construct our next chapter, and both Jimmy and I, after many discussions with Dale, all came to the conclusion that this was the right time and opportunity to move this partnership forward.

“Most importantly, having SealMaster, a world-class brand, on board to support the new team gives us big momentum out of the gate.  With Sebastien (Bourdais) driving, the engineering staff and the crew that Dale has assembled, we are positioned for a banner year,”

Credit: Chris Owens / Courtesy of IndyCar

The additional exciting news from the Dale Coyne Racing with Vasser Sullivan camp today was the announcement of SealMaster joining the squad as a primary sponsor for the 2018 season. The company provide pavement maintenance and sealing products to many locations across the United States and Mexico and will now also provide important funding into the #18 IndyCar team.

The #18 SealMaster Honda was revealed today in a digital render supplied by the team. The striking new yellow and black livery is made even better by the new 2018 universal body-kit for the Verizon IndyCar Series.

“I want to thank Dale Coyne, Jimmy Vasser and Sulli for the opportunity to move forward with this program that’s been in the works for over a year,said Bourdais. “Over the last few years, we’ve all captured poles and won races together. This is a team that started small, but what we needed, and now have collectively, is a consistent program, from top-to-bottom that can compete at the highest level and contend for a championship. I am very excited to get in this SealMaster car and represent such a great company.” 

Dale Coyne Racing has yet to announce who will be driving the #19 car, which will not run under the new Vasser Sullivan banner. It is widely believed that driving duties will be shared between Zachary Claman DeMelo and Pietro Fittipaldi; both of whom have taken part in pre-season testing for the team at Sebring last month.

The team will be present at this week’s continuation of pre-season testing, this time at Arizona’s ISM Raceway. After that, just over a month will remain until the season-opener for the 2018 Verizon IndyCar Series, the Grand Prix of St Petersburg on March 11.

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