Nothing she would have liked more to Dale Coyne and not have to spend a large part of the year responding again to the eternal question that has been subjected to your small team during its three decades of existence: “Who will be mounted on the car in the next race?”. The injury of Sebastien Bourdais in Indianapolis, unfortunately, has forced a situation that, for his team, is quite familiar.
At least for now, Coyne has found a solution for the rest of the year in one of the three pilots who had been employed as a substitute for French, Esteban Gutierrez. The mexican has been confirmed as the driver of car number 18 for the eight events remaining in the championship, starting by testing that the IndyCar series will play this weekend in the venerable path of Road America. Although it is unknown what will happen if Bourdais meets their intent to return for the final test in Sonoma on the 17th of September, there is the possibility that Gutierrez will be able to compete in a third car.
“Represent Mexico in the IndyCar series has a great significance for all of the fans that have been following the category, and I am very grateful to be able to cover this position,”, has stated Gutierrez, who in Detroit became the 17th mexican driver in IndyCar, the first since Michel Jourdain, Jr. in the Indy 500 in 2012, and the first to compete in the circuit from Mario Dominguez in Sonoma 2008.
Gutierrez is confident that his time in the maximum category of motorsport will be of help to adapt to a car that presents new challenges: “IndyCar has equipment and pilot highly competitive, and this challenge will be great for me, but I will use all my experience in Formula 1 with Sauber, Haas and Ferrari to adapt quickly to the car and the circuits. I put my trust in Dale Coyne Racing to achieve great results together”.
The test in oval, next hurdle to overcome
The ex-pilot of Formula 1, which has been competing in Formula E this year, he made his debut in IndyCar in early June in the double test of the street circuit of Belle Isle in Detroit. Despite not having made any pre-test and get in the car for the first time in free practice, Gutierrez managed to bring the car to the finish in both tests, with a slow pace, but surely, being 19th in the first and 14th in the second. “Esteban did a very good job, despite having to learn a lot in a very short period of time. Will fit well in the team”, has commented Dale Coyne.
Coyne planned to align to Gutierrez at the Texas Motor Speedway last June 10, but the inability to make a pre-test in oval made the category to veto their participation. The mexican could afford such a procedure next week, in a test joint in the small (1.4 km) Iowa Speedway, in the face of the evidence that the IndyCar race held there the 9th of July.
For Gutiérrez, one of the priorities will be to not to increase the already extensive bill of costs that Coyne has faced recently. The costly accident, both sporting and economic, of Bourdais, have joined the James Davison in the Indy 500 and the of Tristan Vautier and Ed Jones in the Texas 600, which have resulted in millions of dollars in losses. All of this has been a big headache for a team used to be the cinderella, but this year had made a huge investment, and begun to frequent the noble area of the table.