Dale Coyne Racing has today confirmed that Zachary Claman DeMelo will drive their #19 Honda in the 2018 Verizon IndyCar Series on a part-time schedule. DeMelo will share the #19 car with Pietro Fittipaldi, whose seven-race deal was announced yesterday.
In conjunction with today’s driver announcement, the team also confirmed that Paysafe, a long-term sponsor of DeMelo, would be joining the team as a primary sponsor of the #19 car for both Zachary and Pietro in numerous events.
Paysafe, an online payments company based on the Isle of Man in the United Kingdom, have backed DeMelo since the nineteen-year-old started his second-season of Indy Lights. The group then helped him get his Verizon IndyCar Series debut last year at Sonoma, and now they will step up once again, allowing DeMelo to compete in ten races of the 2018 championship with Dale Coyne.
“We are very pleased to have a leading global payments provider like Paysafe come on board to the exciting sport of Indy car racing as part of their North American expansion strategy,” said Team Owner Dale Coyne. “With Zach and Pietro’s ever-growing skills, we look forward to a competitive 2018 season for Paysafe.”
Canadian, DeMelo, began racing ten years ago in karting before working his way up to cars for the 2014-2015 Formula Skip Barber winter series. After this, Zachary moved across the Atlantic Ocean to compete in several guises of the Formula Renault 2.0 series in 2015 before moving to the MSV F3 invitational cup soon after.
After eight wins in eight races in F3, DeMelo came back to North America to compete in Indy Lights in 2016 with Juncos Racing. His first season would yield ninth place in the championship, with Zachary then switching teams in the off-season in a move to Carlin. 2017 would be his better year in the IndyCar feeder series, earning his first win at Road America en-route to fifth in the standings by the end of the year.
DeMelo made his Verizon IndyCar Series debut at the end of last year, driving for Rahal Letterman Lanigan Racing in the series finale at Sonoma Raceway. His sponsorship with Paysafe helped him get the opportunity to showcase his talent, but only seventeenth place would be his reward in his first race. This year, DeMelo will bring Paysafe across with him as he moves from Rahal to Dale Coyne; whom he has spent many days testing with over the last few weeks.
“Paysafe helped me attain a life ambition last September when I made my Verizon IndyCar Series debut in Sonoma,” said De Melo in today’s release from DCR, “I am hugely grateful for their ongoing support as I prepare for the forthcoming races; I feel proud to be representing their brand again on the race track and I shall be doing all I can to get the Paysafe car into victory lane!”
DeMelo will race in ten rounds of the Verizon IndyCar Series this year. Zachary will race at St Petersburg, Long Beach, Alabama, the Duel in Detriot, Road America, Iowa, Toronto (which will be his home race), Pocono and Gateway. The remaining seven races, including the Indianapolis 500, will be run by Pietro Fittipaldi; who will also carry Paysafe as a sponsor.
“IndyCar racing is extremely high profile in North America and this is a region where we see significant growth opportunities for our business,” said Oscar Nieboer, Paysafe CEO, “It makes strategic sense to build on our initial involvement in last year’s season, and make our full debut as a leading partner in the 2018 season. We very much see this partnership programme as a central component of our North American brand strategy,”
“Zach and Pietro are both exceptional drivers and embody the very spirit that we believe defines Paysafe: a laser focus on performance at the highest level combined with a proven track record of speed, agility and safety. This makes them both fantastic brand ambassadors and we wish them every success in their respective races piloting the Paysafe car.”
A handful of days remain in Verizon IndyCar Series pre-season testing. This week, the field will be in action at the ISM Raceway in Arizona for an open test. After that, just over a month will remain until the season-opening Grand Prix of St Petersburg on March 11. DeMelo will be in action at the first race in the Paysafe #19 Dale Coyne Honda.