DragonSpeed will mark its second season of NTT IndyCar Series action with team veteran Ben Hanley at the controls of the No. 81 Chevy for the Firestone Grand Prix of St. Petersburg.
The Briton piloted DragonSpeed’s new Dallara DW12 on its series debut last year at the season-opening street course, and went on to race at Barber Motorsports Park, and the Indy 500.
“I can’t wait to get back in the number 81 machine for another crack at St Pete,” said Hanley, who retains his rookie status for 2020. “After the thrash required just to make it to the track last season, we’re coming back in a much more settled situation. I don’t know if we can repeat the combination of luck and timing that put us 12th on the grid in 2019, but we will be much better prepared this time around and should be stronger throughout the weekend.”
Hanley could be nominated to complete more IndyCar races beyond St. Pete, and it’s possible more than one driver will occupy DragonSpeed’s No. 81 Chevy this year.
“The continuity represented by having Ben in the car at St. Pete is a real boost, and for the fifth year in a row, he remains the lead driver across all of our programs,” said team owner Elton Julian. “That said, the realities of life as a young IndyCar team might see us running other drivers at the same level as Ben, perhaps with more IndyCar experience, during the year. But committing to Ben as the test and race driver for the launch of our 2020 effort is clearly the best way to get our season off to a strong start.
DragonSpeed announced a six-race program for the new season, and has commenced the update process for its Dallara to receive the new and mandatory aeroscreen driver protection device before the twin-turbo V6-powered car runs in anger.
“We haven’t had the head start of some teams in testing the new IndyCar aeroscreen and are pushing hard to get it in time to maximize the limited track testing allowed to us as a part-time entrant, while making some time in between for data analysis and shaker rig testing,” Julian added.