The Verizon IndyCar Series driver line-up’s are taking shape nicely for the 2018 season. The biggest shock came last week when AJ Foyt Racing announced that neither Carlos Munoz nor Conor Daly will be retained alongside Tony Kanaan next season.
The other big surprise was announcement from Chip Ganassi Racing that they have signed 2017 Sunoco rookie of the year Ed Jones from Dale Coyne Racing to replace Tony Kanaan in the No.10 NTT DATA Honda alongside Scott Dixon.
The news that Ed Jones has joined Ganassi means that a seat has become available at Dale Coyne Racing which would be ideal for Daly who raced with the team in 2016 however, Coyne would need a driver with sponsorship so Daly would require money for a full-time drive in 2018.
A less likely destination for Daly is Ed Carpenter Racing who only have a pahasrt time seat available for 2018 as team owner Ed Carpenter has already confirmed that he will continue in the No.20 Chevrolet alongside Spencer Pigot who was promoted to a full-time drive replacing JR Hildebrand in the No.21.
As reported by Paddock Eye in recent weeks, Rahal Letterman Lanigan Racing could field a third car in 2018 if the right opportunity came along. As it stands, the Brownsburg based outfit have signed Takuma Sato to race alongside Graham Rahal.
Carlin Racing have yet to confirm their plans for 2018 but it is expected that former Chip Ganassi Racing driver Max Chilton will bring Arthur J Gallagher sponsorship to the team if Trevor Carlin confirms his Verizon IndyCar Series team. Charlie Kimball is expected to join Chilton at the outfit with the Californian working hard on remaining in the series full-time in 2018.
Having made their Verizon IndyCar Series debut at the 101st running of the Indianapolis 500 presented by PennGrade Motor Oil in May, Juncos Racing have confirmed that they will run Indy Lights champion Kyle Kaiser for a partial programme in 2018 which includes the 102nd running of the Indianapolis 500 presented by PennGrade Motor Oil next May.
Harding Racing will move to a full-time operation in 2018 with Gabby Chaves driving the No.88 Chevrolet. It is believed that team owner Mike Harding along with Larry Curry are looking into the possibility of running a second full-time car in 2018 which could be an opening for Daly.
Schmidt Peterson Motorsports have two cars for next season with Robert Wickens joining James Hinchcliffe at the team to form an all-Canadian line-up.
Testing of the new universal aero kits has begun with Chip Ganassi Racing and Schmidt Peterson Motorsports testing at Texas Motor Speedway and the Indianapolis Motor Speedway last weekend.
Here is what we know so far:
Team Penske have confirmed that they will cut to a three car full-time programme in 2018 with Helio Castroneves moving across to Penske’s sportscar operation with Acura joining Juan Pablo Montoya.
Castroneves will run the month of May in the No.3 Chevrolet.
2 Josef Newgarden
3 Helio Castroneves – Grand Prix of Indianapolis and the Indianapolis 500 only
12 Will Power
22 Simon Pagenaud
Chip Ganassi Racing
9 Scott Dixon
10 Ed Jones
26 Zach Veach
27 Marco Andretti
28 Ryan Hunter Reay
98 Alexander Rossi
Stefan Wilson – 102nd running of the Indianapolis 500 presented by PennGrade Motor Oil.
Rahal Letterman Lanigan Racing
15 Graham Rahal
16 Takuma Sato
AJ Foyt Racing
14 Tony Kanaan
Schmidt Peterson Motorsports
5 James Hinchcliffe
7 Robert Wickens
Dale Coyne Racing
18 Sebastien Bourdais
19 TBC – Conor Daly
Ed Carpenter Racing
20 Ed Carpenter (ovals only) and TBC (street and road courses)
Kyle Kaiser – A selected programme including the 102nd running of the Indianapolis 500 presented by PennGrade Motor Oil.
88 Gabby Chaves