Coyne intends to finalize drivers by Phoenix test

Coyne intends to finalize drivers by Phoenix test


Coyne intends to finalize drivers by Phoenix test


Dale Coyne intends to have his driver plans for the No. 19 Honda completed before the Feb. 9-10 Verizon IndyCar Series open test begins at Phoenix International Raceway.

The Illinois-based team, which fields four-time Champ Car champion Sebastien Bourdais as its primary entry in the No. 18 Honda, could see the Frenchman partnered with more than one teammate. The perfect scenario – a single driver with a full-season budget – has been elusive, and as RACER first revealed, separate programs for at least two drivers could be required to assembled the funds desired by Coyne.

Indy Lights graduate Zachary Claman De Melo, who tested for DCR on Wednesday, and Pietro Fittipaldi, grandson of Formula 1 and IndyCar champion Emerson Fittipaldi, who took over on Thursday, are in the frame to pilot the car on a semi-regular basis.

“The test with Pietro and Zach went well, and we want to get everything done before we get to Phoenix for who’ll be in the car,” Coyne told RACER. “It’s important to us to get things done, get it announced, so we can get ourselves ready for the year.”

Could someone other than Claman De Melo or Fittipaldi occupy the No. 19?

“We’re talking to them, but they aren’t the only ones,” Coyne said. “There are some other names you might hear, but it all depends on what happens here very shortly.”