Ed Carpenter Racing will move forward without Spencer Pigot as its lead driver. The 2015 Indy Lights champion, who joined the team in 2016 and went full-time in 2018, will not return to the No. 21 Chevy.
“I’m appreciative of the opportunity ECR gave me,” the Floridian, who finished fifth on two occasions last season, told RACER. “I understand the reasons they had to go in a different direction, and wish them all the best.”
Holland’s Rinus VeeKay, who finished second in the Indy Lights championship and has tested on two occasions for ECR, is tipped to replace Pigot. Carrying loyal support from Dutch sponsors, it’s believed the change was made based on a need for increased funding.
A call to Carpenter was not immediately returned.
Barring its owner/driver, ECR could field a line-up with no carryovers from the previous season for the first time since 2015.
The two-car program ended the 2019 season with Pigot as its full-time driver, Carpenter in the No. 20 car on ovals, and Ed Jones piloting the No. 20 on road and street courses as part of a co-entry between ECR and the Scuderia Corsa sports car team.
Turning to 2020, Jones is not expected to return, Scuderia Corsa’s ongoing participation is unclear, Pigot is searching for a new home, Conor Daly is believed to be the frame, and Formula 1 journeyman Nico Hulkenberg has been inserted into the conversation.
“No drivers, other than Ed, are currently under contract for next year,” a team representative told RACER.
The change with Pigot comes as a surprise. RACER’s Robin Miller spoke with Carpenter at the IndyCar season finale in Monterey, who said the promising 26-year-old would likely be returning for his third full season with the team.
Over the last week, multiple sources have said Pigot’s place at ECR was no longer guaranteed, which appears to indicate VeeKay’s role has been solidified.
Daly, whose support from the Air Force would be a perfect fit for Carpenter’s all-American outfit, has been mentioned as a candidate for the road and street course opportunity, and Hulkenberg has been added to the roster of hypothetical candidates for the No. 20 Chevy.
Despite a recent report stating Hulkenberg was headed to ECR, it’s believed the 10-year F1 veteran, who is unsigned for 2020, is not among the team’s primary options.