James Hinchcliffe will pilot the No. 26 Gainbridge Honda for Andretti Autosport in the three remaining races on the 2020 NTT IndyCar Series calendar. The Canadian replaces Zach Veach, who was parked by the team after a season filled with frequent disappointments; the Ohioan had three races left on his three-year contract.
“I know, probably better than most, what Zach is feeling right now, and I have to say that he has handled everything about as class act as you can,” Hinchcliffe said, referring to being dismissed by Arrow McLaren SP at the end of 2019. “I’ve known Zach as a teammate, before that as a colleague and even before that as a friend, and he is a guy that I respect in every way. I know he is a fighter and will fight back to where he wants to be.
“For me now, my focus is 100% on racing the Harvest GP and getting the best possible results for Gainbridge, for Honda, for Michael (Andretti) and for the team. I obviously haven’t been on a road course in a while, but at least the last time I was, it was here at IMS! Hopefully that puts us in a good position to go out there and have a strong weekend.”
Andretti, who employed Hinchcliffe as a full-time driver from 2012-2014, and ran the 33-year-old in three events earlier this year, presented his return to pilot Veach’s former entry for the 56th-58th races with the team as part of a driver evaluation process.
“It’s always unfortunate to have to change drivers this far into a season, but we have to look at finishing the year the best we can for the 26 team and start evaluating and looking at options for 2021,” he said. “James has an existing relationship with our team that we’d love to build on and it makes the most sense for him to step in for these last three races. We are looking forward to seeing what he can do.”