The Verizon IndyCar Series may be preparing for the final race of the 2017 season with this weekend’s GoPro Grand Prix of Sonoma however over at Schmidt Peterson Motorsports they already have one eye on the 2018 Indianapolis 500.

Schmidt Peterson Motorsports announced on Tuesday that French company Calmels Sports and French racing driver Tristan Gommendy will partner with the team for the 2018 Indianapolis 500 presented by PennGrade Motor Oil.

Gommendy commented on the news by saying:

Competing in the Indianapolis 500 is a dream come true; it was a career goal when I was racing in Champ Car. “Even though I grew up driving open-wheel cars, everything is completely new when you get to Indy. The Speedway and this race demand a lot of respect. Racing at 230 mph with four 90° turns is far from the European motorsport culture. I know I’ll have to work very hard to get ready for next May. The first steps, including my first simulator test, went well, but much more work needs to be done. Everything so far has shown me that this partnership between Calmels Sport and SPM is extraordinary. In the United States, everything is possible … provided you earn your spot. It’s up to us to write a beautiful French story in Indiana!

Gommendy will drive the No.77 Honda prepared by Schmidt Peterson Motorsports and speaking about the announcement, team co-owner Sam Schmidt commented by saying:

“Ric and I are pleased to announce this partnership with Didier Calmels. Compared to him, we are relative newcomers to team ownership but have similar backgrounds of success in the business world. We look forward to learning a tremendous amount from Didier regarding the business of racing and his innovative approaches which have resulted in great success in European formulas. In addition, SPM has already shown results with French drivers such as Pagenaud and Vautier, so we look forward to having the talented and experienced Tristan Gommendy join our team for 2018. He has a similar background to Simon, so we have very high expectations.

Gommendy’s preparations for 2018 will begin in October when he drives a Verizon IndyCar Series machine for the first time on an oval.

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