Dale Coyne Racing has confirmed today that American teenager, Santino Ferrucci will make his debut in the Verizon IndyCar Series next month. Ferrucci will drive the #19 Paysafe Honda in the two races that make up the Duel in Detroit, which will take place on June 2 and 3.
The announcement comes in the wake of Pietro Fittipaldi‘s crash in the World Endurance Championship 6 hours of Spa-Francorchamps. Fittipaldi’s injury has led to Dale Coyne Racing being forced to change around their planned driver line-up for the upcoming races. Zachary Claman De Melo had been scheduled to race in Detroit, but he has now taken over for Fittipaldi this month at Indianapolis. This has led to the team making the decision to put Ferrucci in the #19 car instead of De Melo for Detroit.
Santino, a Haas F1 Team development driver, currently races in the FIA Formula 2 Championship with Trident. He will take part in next weekend’s pair of races that support the Monaco Grand Prix before flying over the Atlantic to race in Detroit the following week.
“It’s a fantastic opportunity to be able to race the #19 Paysafe car with Dale Coyne Racing at Detroit, especially that I’ll be coming off an F2 race in Monaco,” said Ferrucci after today’s announcement. “The goal is still to be a Formula 1 driver but to be racing in IndyCar is going to be something special. I’m really looking forward to it.
“It’s just unfortunate that it’s under the circumstances of Pietro [Fittipaldi]’s injuries, I hope he has a speedy recovery and can come back very soon.”
Ferrucci, aged nineteen and born in Connecticut, has spent much of his racing career in Europe. He took part in numerous iterations of Formula 3, including the European and British championships, before graduating to the GP3 Series in 2016.
At the same time, Haas F1 Team picked up the young American, signing him as their development driver. He got behind the wheel of a Formula 1 car for the first time in a mid-season test at Silverstone later that year and has remained a part of the American squad since, testing on numerous occasions over the last few years.
In 2017, Ferrucci would continue racing in GP3 with DAMS before going on to make his Formula 2 debut later in the year with Trident. He has remained in the series for the 2018 season; which will be his first full run at the championship.
Ferrucci will be yet another former Formula 2 driver on this year’s Verizon IndyCar Series grid, joining the likes of Alexander Rossi, Jordan King, Rene Binder, Max Chilton and others. More and more young drivers are beginning to choose IndyCar as a potential avenue for their racing careers to head down.
The sponsors of the DCR #19 car, Paysafe, commented after Ferrucci’s signing that they were “pleased” to be giving the young American his debut in IndyCar:
“Paysafe is pleased to be able to give another up and coming motorsport talent the opportunity to realize a dream and compete in the hugely exciting Indy car race season,” said Oscar Nieboer, the Chief Marketing Officer for Paysafe.
“Having Santino behind the wheel of the Paysafe car is another example of how we are supporting new drivers on the circuit and challenging the status quo which in turn mirrors our brand vision of challenging the current state of play as the emerging payments provider.
“Like our other two drivers, Zach and Pietro, Santino really brings our values to life and we’re looking forward to watching him pilot the #19 Paysafe car in Detroit.”
Ferrucci’s debut will come in practice for the 2018 Verizon IndyCar Series Duel in Detroit. The double-header race weekend will take place on June 2 and 3. Before that, the next race for the IndyCar Series is next weekend’s 2018 Indianapolis 500.