Dale Coyne Racing’s announced on Wednesday that Tristan Vautier will drive the No.18 Honda in the Rainguard Water Sealers 600 this weekend.
Vautier drove for the team in eleven races during the 2015 Verizon IndyCar Series season and speaking about the decision, team owner Dale Coyne stated:
We chose Tristan to fill the 18 seat at Texas because of his previous experience at Texas Motor Speedway. “We think he can help the team and Ed (Jones) who has never raced or even tested there. Tristan has remained close with the team and he’s always done a good job for us. I expect much of the same going into this race weekend.
Vautier replaces former F1 driver Esteban Gutierrez who is expected back for the race in Road America as Ed Jones’ team mate.
Speaking about the news Vautier commented by saying:
I’m really looking forward to getting back in an Indy car and race for Dale again. “But before talking about me stepping in, let’s all keep sending our thoughts to Seb for a quick recovery. I was happy to see him at the track at Indy on race day. I have big shoes to fill!
“That being said, I really can’t wait to be in the car on Friday and see how it feels that first lap around. It’s not the easiest place to step back in and practice is going to be very limited, but the team has been competitive everywhere, and I trust we’ll be good. It’s going to be cool working with the whole team again, and also with Craig Hampson who I met in Le Mans when I was 16 and just getting started in racing. I remember I was asking him about opportunities in the USA and he was telling me to come over!
“I’m super grateful to Dale for renewing his trust in me like he did in 2015, and I also want to send a big thanks to SunEnergy1 Racing and my team owner Kenny Habul who is making 2017 such a special year for me as I return to racing full time in the USA for his team. He is much more than a team owner to me, he wants to see me succeed and supports me in everything I do beyond my commitments with him in sports cars. He is a true blessing. Now it’s time for me to focus and deliver this weekend.”