James Hinchcliffe has announced today that he now has the funding to compete in the 2020 Indianapolis 500 in May after gaining a new sponsor in the form of Genesys, a customer experience company. Neither Hinchcliffe nor Genesys have yet to confirm which NTT IndyCar Series team that they will partner with for the event.
Fan-favourite Hinchcliffe has been racing in the NTT IndyCar Series full-time since making his debut at Barber Motorsports Park in 2011 with Newman/Haas Racing. A four-year spell at Andretti Autosport followed after that, with Hinchcliffe picking up three victories during this time. From 2015 to 2019, Hinchcliffe would race for Arrow Schmidt Peterson but would ultimately lose his drive with the team at the end of last year after the squad merged with McLaren Racing to form Arrow McLaren Racing SP.
It soon became apparent that, due to the late nature of his departure from the team, it would be a struggle for James to get back onto the grid full-time. Today’s news will provide James and his many fans some comfort knowing that he will be at the race track for at least one event this year.
Hinchcliffe has now secured the funds he needs to attempt to enter the Indianapolis 500 in May after partnering with Genesys. The much needed sponsorship could also see him contest the Grand Prix of Indianapolis that takes place on the road course at Indianapolis Motor Speedway a few weeks prior to the Indy 500.
In a news release published today, Genesys CEO, Tony Bates, stated that Hinchcliffe was a perfect fit for his company and that Genesys were “thrilled“ to be working with him.
“Hinchcliffe brings an incredible level of skill and charisma to IndyCar, not to mention his genuine empathy for other teams and drivers,” said Bates. “These very attributes are critical for organizations as they establish trust and loyalty with their most important asset: their customers. And, that’s what makes Hinchcliffe the perfect person to represent our company.
“We are thrilled to align ourselves with this talented driver and a sport that gives hundreds of thousands of people an experience like no other each and every May.
“This sponsorship gives Genesys an opportunity to further immerse ourselves in this wonderful community that’s home to our largest employee base in the world. Auto racing is a shining example of the amazing results that can be achieved when man and machine work together.”
Further details of Hinchcliffe’s 2020 Indianapolis 500 deal are set to be announced in the near-future. One important omission from today’s announcement is the identity of the team that Hinchcliffe and Genesys will be partnering with in their attempt to qualify for the race.
There are plenty of options for Hinchcliffe to compete on a one or two race deal to encompass both Indianapolis races. However, given Hinchcliffe’s strong ties to Honda, it is likely that he will wish to stay with a Honda-powered team. This would mean that the most likely options for James would come in the form of Rahal Letterman Lanigan Racing or Dale Coyne Racing; with both teams having fielded Indy 500-only entries as recently as last year. Chip Ganassi Racing and A.J. Foyt Enterprises could also be options, with both teams having run extra entries at Indianapolis in the past.
A return to the Andretti Autosport camp would also theoretically be possible, but it is thought that the team – who will be running five full-time cars and will be supporting a sixth part-time entry in the form of Meyer Shank Racing‘s Jack Harvey – are at near capacity and are close to confirming a deal to run Fernando Alonso in May’s race.
The 2020 NTT IndyCar Series will kick-off with the season-opening Grand Prix of St. Petersburg on Sunday, March 15. The 104th running of the Indianapolis 500 will take place later in the season on Sunday, May 24.