Claman De Melo to test with Coyne

Claman De Melo to test with Coyne

IndyCar

Claman De Melo to test with Coyne

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Canada’s Zachary Claman De Melo will test with Dale Coyne Racing on Wednesday at Sebring and is in the frame for a race seat alongside Sebastien Bourdais.

“I’m doing the test with Coyne and it’s also looking more like I’ll be racing with them this year, but nothing’s done,” the Mazda Road To Indy graduate told RACER.

The French Canadian made his first Verizon IndyCar Series start at the end of the season with Rahal Letterman Lanigan Racing in Sonoma. The former Carlin Racing driver set a string of impressive laps during 2017’s finale as teammate to Graham Rahal, and has been searching for a ride throughout the offseason.

Having changed management teams, Claman De Melo will rely on Stefan Johansson, who also looks after four-time IndyCar champion Scott Dixon, to finalize a deal with the Honda-powered DCR team.

The primary question facing the 19-year-old from Montreal is whether he will be the sole occupant of the No. 19 Honda. RACER has learned former Bryan Herta Autosport and A.J. Foyt Racing driver Jack Hawksworth is a heavy favorite of the Japanese manufacturer, and could end up sharing the seat with Claman De Melo this season.

After parting ways with the Foyt team at the conclusion of a fruitless 2016 season, the Briton turned his attention to IMSA and sports cars, where he became a factory driver for Lexus on its introduction to the GT Daytona category. Hawksworth is set to compete at the Rolex 24 at Daytona with the Paul Gentilozzi-owned 3GT Lexus program, but if he is given a second chance in IndyCar with Coyne, it’s unclear how much juggling would be required between sports car and open-wheel responsibilities.

Provided one or both drivers steps into the No. 19 Honda, the last full-time entry for the 2018 season will be filled.

Coyne and Andretti Autosport will be testing Tuesday at Sebring, marking Zach Veach’s first laps with his 2018 car and new team. Chip Ganassi Racing’s Scott Dixon and Ed Jones will join them on Wednesday. 

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