Dale Coyne Racing has promoted assistant race engineer Ross Bunnell to a new leadership role as full race engineer for one of its two IndyCar Honda-powered entries. He joins Olivier Boisson, who engineered the No. 18 Dale Coyne Racing with Vasser Sullivan Honda driven by Santino Ferrucci last season.
It’s unclear whether Bunnell, who spent 2018-’19 serving as assistant to Craig Hampson on Sebastien Bourdais’ car, and last season as assistant to Eric Cowdin on the Coyne with Team Goh entry piloted by Alex Palou, will be assigned to the Coyne-Vasser-Sullivan car, or Coyne’s second Honda.
“Ross started with us about five years ago as a data engineer, did a great job — probably the best we’ve had,” DCR team manager Terry Brown told RACER. “Worked his way up to assistant, worked with Craig Hampson, and we were thinking of moving him up when Craig left at the end of 2019. I thought Ross was ready last season, but Dale wanted a veteran for Alex Palou, so we hired Eric. About three races in, Dale said he thought that Ross was ready to become a full race engineer, and with an opening to fill, Ross was the first choice.”
Four candidates are believed to hold the highest likelihood of driving for Coyne. As RACER wrote in its last two silly season updates, former Haas F1 driver Romain Grosjean holds significant intrigue for the Illinois-based team. The Frenchman is joined on the short list by 2017 Coyne driver Ed Jones, 2018 Coyne driver Pietro Fittipaldi, and series veteran Charlie Kimball.
Bunnell is expected to have one of the four under his care when the delayed season launches in April at Barber Motorsports Park in Alabama.
“He’s a brilliant kid,” Brown added. “When they were here, Michael Cannon and Craig both told me he was the future of Dale Coyne Racing. It feels really good to take a kid who started out with us at the first step in engineering, and see him earn his way to the top position.”