Another experienced Formula One driver is joining the Verizon IndyCar Series.
Dale Coyne Racing announced today that Esteban Gutierrez, the 25-year-old Mexican who competed in three Formula One seasons and was a test driver in three others, will replace the injured Sebastien Bourdais in the No. 18 Sonny’s BBQ Honda for this week’s Chevrolet Detroit Grand Prix presented by Lear doubleheader race weekend.
Bourdais is recovering from pelvis and hip fractures sustained in a May 20 crash during a qualifying attempt for the 101st Indianapolis 500 presented by PennGrade Motor Oil.
“I’m very grateful to join Dale Coyne Racing, a highly competitive team,” Gutierrez said. “When Dale Coyne called me, I had no doubt that this would be a great opportunity for me to get experience in the Verizon IndyCar Series. My target is to learn as quickly as possible. INDYCAR is a very challenging series for drivers, but I feel ready to take this chance.”
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Gutierrez drove in 2013 and ’14 for Sauber in F1, with a best finish of seventh in the 2013 Japanese Grand Prix. He also served as the team’s reserve driver in 2011 and ’12 while competing in GP2, the top development series for Formula One.
After spending the 2015 season as the reserve driver for Ferrari, Gutierrez joined the U.S.-based Haas F1 team last year. His best result in 21 races was 11th place on four occasions. A native of Monterrey, Mexico, which hosted Indy car races at Fundidora Park from 2001-06, Gutierrez has been driving this season for the Techeetah team in Formula E.
“We’re going to miss having Sebastien in the No. 18 car, but we’re very happy with our choice of a replacement for him this weekend,” said team owner Dale Coyne. “Esteban has a great open-wheel racing background, especially with his time in Formula One and the GP2 series. I think he’ll do well in an Indy car despite the learning curve and we all look forward to seeing what he’ll do this weekend in Detroit.”
Gutierrez began competing in karts at age 12. He advanced to open-wheel cars in 2007, when he finished second in the Formula BMW USA championship with four wins and nine poles in 14 races. He moved to Formula BMW Europe the following season and captured the championship with seven wins in 16 races.
He continued climbing the European open-wheel ranks, winning the 2010 GP3 championship and finishing third in GP2 in 2012.
“I’m excited about my debut races at the Detroit Grand Prix and I cannot wait to start working with the team, engineers and Honda, as well as driving a Dallara car again,” Gutierrez said. “I have very good memories of my successful GP3 and GP2 series seasons with the Dallara cars and I worked very well with them at Haas F1 team. I will do my best for Dale Coyne Racing, Honda and all the Mexican fans.”
Gutierrez will join the 22-car Verizon IndyCar Series field when practice begins Friday for the Chevrolet Detroit Grand Prix on the 2.35-mile temporary street circuit at the Raceway at Belle Isle Park. The only doubleheader weekend on the 2017 schedule, races are set for Saturday and Sunday, with each airing live at 3:30 p.m. ET on ABC and the Advance Auto Parts INDYCAR Radio Network.