Ed Carpenter Racing confirmed on Friday that JR Hildebrand will return to full-time Verizon IndyCar competition in 2017.
As reported by Paddock Eye on Thursday, Hildebrand replaces Josef Newgarden in the No.21 Chevrolet following Newgarden’s move to Penske. Hildebrand commented on the news by saying:
Honestly, I just couldn’t be more ready to get started! “I’ve been close to, but still outside of, this role for long enough to really understand and embrace the opportunity to be back in the Verizon IndyCar Series full-time.
The 28 year old went on to say:
The relationship I’ve had with Ed Carpenter and ECR has honed my determination to get back in the seat because of how confident I feel in what we could do together. Now, I’m here to make it happen. I feel like I’ve got something to prove and can’t think of a better place to do it.
Hildebrand drove in the Angie’s List Grand Prix of Indianapolis in May for Ed Carpenter Racing and finished the event in 22nd place just behind Josef Newgarden.
In the 100th running of the Indianapolis 500 presented by PennGrade Motor Oil, Hildebrand started the race from 15th place and went on finish the event in sixth place. Speaking about signing Hildebrand to replace Newgarden, team owner Ed Carpenter said:
We first started talking about this in 2013 and the timing has just now worked to give JR an opportunity to show what he can do with a full-time ride. The job that he has done for the team each time we have put him in a car the past three years has proven to us that he is the right man for the job.
Carpenter, who will continue to run an oval only programme in the No.20 Chevrolet went on to say:
Whether it has been his role with the team during the past three 500s or the testing he has done for us over the past two years, he consistently shows he deserves a full-time opportunity. “I am confident that JR will shine in the 21 car and that ECR will continue to post the results we have grown to expect.
Ed Carpenter Racing have not yet announced who will partner Carpenter in the No.20 Fuzzy’s Ultra Premium Vodka Chevrolet for the road and streets races in 2017 with that drive still under consideration.