Esteban Gutierrez is returning behind the wheel of the No. 18 Dale Coyne Racing Honda this weekend for the KOHLER Grand Prix at Road America and will remain the driver for the remainder of the Verizon IndyCar Series season. The team made the announcement today.
KOHLER GRAND PRIX: Entry list
Gutierrez was the second of three drivers to substitute for Sebastien Bourdais, who sustained fractures to his pelvis and right hip in a crash during qualifying for the Indianapolis 500 on May 20. Gutierrez, a veteran of 21 Formula One starts, made his Verizon IndyCar Series debut in the Chevrolet Detroit Grand Prix presented by Lear doubleheader weekend. The native or Monterrey, Mexico, finished 19th and 14th in the two races.
"I'm very happy to finally announce my racing program for the rest of the season,” Gutierrez said. “To represent Mexico in the Verizon IndyCar Series has a huge significance to all the fans that have been following the series through history and I'm very grateful to fill in this position.
“INDYCAR has highly competitive teams and drivers and the challenge for me will be great, but I will use all my experience from Formula One with Sauber, Haas F1 Team and Ferrari in order to adapt quickly to the car and the tracks,” he added. “I look forward to continue working with Dale Coyne Racing and Honda, I put my trust in them to achieve great results together. I cannot wait to jump in my UNIFIN No. 18 car at Road America this weekend.”
While the Detroit doubleheader weekend wasn’t ideal for Gutierrez to make his debut – with a tough, physical layout and limited practice time – he improved and impressed throughout the weekend, according to team owner Dale Coyne.
“We’re very pleased that Esteban can join us for the remainder of the season,” said Coyne. “Esteban did a very good job in Detroit despite having a lot to learn in a short amount of time. He fit in very well with the team and I look forward to our next races with him, starting with Road America this week.”
The 4.014-mile, 14-turn permanent road course in Wisconsin won’t be new to Gutierrez, 25. He raced at Road America in 2007 in Formula BMW USA and tested last week on the circuit with Dale Coyne Racing teammate and fellow rookie Ed Jones.
Practice for the KOHLER Grand Prix begins Friday, with 45-minute sessions at 11:45 a.m. and 4:15 p.m. ET. A third 45-minute practice begins at noon ET Saturday. All practices this weekend will stream live on RaceControl.IndyCar.com.
Three rounds of knockout qualifying begin at 4 p.m. Saturday, concluding with the Firestone Fast Six to determine the Verizon P1 Award winner. A same-day telecast of qualifying airs at 5 p.m. Saturday on NBCSN.
Sunday’s 55-lap race – five laps longer than a year ago – airs live at 12:30 p.m. Sunday on NBCSN and the Advance Auto Parts INDYCAR Radio Network. The KOHLER Grand Prix is the 10th of 17 races on the 2017 Verizon IndyCar Series schedule.