American endurance racing team DragonSpeed will return to US competition in 2019. Its rookie IndyCar Series season will cover five races, highlighted by the 103rd Indianapolis 500 in May. The 2017 European Le Mans Series champions will also be in action Stateside with their regular LMP1 and LMP2 machinery at the IMSA Rolex 24 at Daytona season-opener in January and the Sebring 1000 Miles round of the FIA World Endurance Championship in March, as well as the Le Mans 24 Hours in June.
For its IndyCar Series debut, DragonSpeed has secured Chevrolet power for a new Dallara chassis to be driven by Ben Hanley. The 33-year-old Briton enters his fourth season with the team, having built a name as one of the world’s leading sportscar pilots. The new combination will make its track debut at the official pre-season test at the Circuit of the Americas on 12-13 February.
The remainder of DragonSpeed’s IndyCar Series schedule will include St Petersburg, Barber, Road America, and Mid-Ohio with the goal of accommodating its WEC commitments and exposing the team to a variety of tracks in readiness for its target of a full season in 2020.
Team principal Elton Julian said, “IndyCar is enjoying a major upswing thanks to the quality of the racing produced by the current regulations. The fans see it, the teams see it, the manufacturers and sponsors see it, and I think NBC saw it when they decided to take on the television coverage. With so much interest from new entrants, we’re also grateful for IndyCar’s support of our bid to join the series and to Chevy for making room for us in their engine program.”
“For the team, it’s a matter of our growing experience catching up to our ambitions. The last few seasons of endurance racing have given us an intensive platform for developing our preparation, race engineering, pit stop, and strategy skills. We also have strong open-wheel credentials up and down the team, and Ben’s pace and exceptional detail feel for set-up and tires should be a great asset.”
“None of this is to underplay the difficulty of the challenge ahead, because IndyCar is the toughest series we’ve ever contested, with the world’s biggest race as its centerpiece. On the other hand, we didn’t go from club racing a decade ago to a Pirelli World Challenge title in 2015 to prototypes at Le Mans without climbing a few mountains, and I take a lot of confidence from the talent and spirit of the people we’ve put together for the next summit.”