IndyCar grid slowly filling up

The IndyCar 2018 grid is slowly filling up.

17 full season drivers have been confirmed so far, with still a few seats left.

The 2017 Champion, Josef Newgarden will continue at Penske together with 2016 Champion, Simon Pagenaud and the 2014 Champion, Will Power. Helio Castroneves has been with the team ever since Year 2000, but the fourth car for Castroneves will only be present at Indy 500, with the Brazilian moving focus to the Weathertech SportsCar Championship.

Chip Ganassi Racing will continue with 2003, 2008, 2013 and 2015 Champion Scott Dixon, while a new driver will be in the second seat. Ed Jones has done one season in IndyCar for Dale Coyne Racing, but he will now replace Tony Kanaan at CGR.

Scott Dixon 2018 Oval Aero Kit
Photo: Skibinski

Kanaan will be driving for A. J. Foyt Enterprises together with his Brazilian countryman and rookie Matheus Leist. Leist won the British Formula 3 Championship in 2016 before starting in the Indy Lights Championship in 2017, where he finished fourth in the standings. The always popular Kanaan has a two-years contract with the team, which most likely will be the final two seasons for the soon to be 43 year-old racing driver.

Andretti Autosport keeps three of their four drivers. 2012 Champion Ryan Hunter-Reay will once again be the team leader, with 2016 Indy 500 winner Alexander Rossi and Marco Andretti also in the team. Zach Veach will be the new fourth driver, in what clearly will be a learning year for the American. The team knows him well from US F2000, Star Mazda and Indy Lights, where they worked together between 2010 and 2014. Veach still has to prove that he is a front runner. His best Championship result in the Indy Lights is a third place in 2014, but has grabbed six race victories during six seasons.

Josef Newgarden
Photo: Owens

Ed Carpenter is back in the car during the oval races, while the seat in the Ed Carpenter Racing #20 still needs a driver during the remaining 11 rounds. Spencer Pigot is full season driver in the other car. The 2015 Indy Lights Champion drove the car for the team in 2017 in all the non-oval races, but he has now been upgraded to full season driver.

Schmidt Peterson Motorsport, or jokingly mentioned as Team Canada, will line-up with two Canadians in 2018. James Hinchcliffe will drive his fourth season for the team, while Robert Wickens is new to the IndyCar series after joining from the DTM Championship.

Rahal Letterman Lanigan Racing will enter Graham Rahal for the 6th season, while 2017 Indy 500 winner Takuma Sato will return to the team, that he drove for during the 2012 season. Sato has a lot of Honda money in his pocket, but the 2017 victory showed that he can win the big races. The success in 2018 depends on if the team can calm him down and keep his concentration on the track, which has been a weak point for the former Formula 1 driver. But when he is in the zone, he surely is a front runner.

Spencer Pigot 2018 Road Course Aero Kit
Photo: Simpson

Dale Coyne Racing will once again enter Sebastien Bourdais, who is fully fit again after his injury at the Indy 500 2017. The seat next to him is still not occupied, but a lot of drivers are interested in that seat.

There are rumours about Carlin going to enter IndyCar with Max Chilton and Jolyon Palmer, while Michael Shank Racing tries to put a programme together.

Danica Patrick made an announcement last weekend that she will be doing the 2018 Indy 500 as her final race before retirement as a racing driver. No team has officially been announced, but everything points towards a third car at Chip Ganassi Racing.

Takuma Sato
Photo: Owens

There are still opportunities for more cars, but the coming months will tell.

All cars will have a new common aero kit for the 2018 season, after Honda and Chevrolet had to do their own kits during the past 3 seasons. The two engine manufacturers will still be present, but the engine will now be the only difference between the all Dallara DW12 chassis.

The IndyCar season will start 11 March on the streets of St. Peterburg, Florida.

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