Sportscar team DragonSpeed Racing, which first revealed its plans to expand into IndyCar racing to RACER back in August, has confirmed a limited IndyCar Series campaign in 2019 including five races, highlighted by the 103rd Indianapolis 500. The team has purchased a new Dallara DW12 chassis and will compete with Chevrolet power and England’s Ben Hanley behind the wheel.
With bases in Florida and France to service its FIA World Endurance Championship LMP1 and occasional IMSA LMP2 efforts, DragonSpeed will rely on its U.S. shop to field Hanley at the season opener in St. Petersburg, Barber Motorsports Park, Road America, and Mid-Ohio in addition to Indy.
“IndyCar is enjoying a major upswing thanks to the quality of the racing produced by the current regulations,” said team owner Elton Julian. “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.”
Julian is confident his globe-trotting team will be capable of showing well on its series debut.
“For the team, it’s a matter of our growing experience catching up to our ambitions,” he added. “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.”
Dragonspeed and Hanley will get their first taste of IndyCar’s depth during the February open test at Circuit of The Americas.
“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,” Julian said. “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.”