After making a strong impression in four Verizon IndyCar Series starts this year, Santino Ferrucci will return to Dale Coyne Racing for the entire 2019 season. The 20-year-old American will team with veteran Sebastien Bourdais, the four-time Indy car champion.
Ferrucci made his INDYCAR debut in June at the Chevrolet Detroit Grand Prix presented by Lear doubleheader. He returned for the final two races of the season in September, at Portland International Raceway and Sonoma Raceway. Ferrucci’s best finish came in the finale, the INDYCAR Grand Prix of Sonoma, when he finished 11th despite dealing with a throttle issue the entire race.
“I’ve said it before, I’m extremely grateful to Dale and everyone at Dale Coyne Racing for believing in me and for giving me this opportunity to race a full season in the IndyCar Series,” Ferrucci said. “I enjoyed the time I spent with the team this past year in the IndyCar Series and I’m looking forward to doing a full season with them.
“While I’ll still be considered a rookie, I feel like I’ve already gained valuable experience in INDYCAR that will serve me well next season. However, I’m well aware that I still have a lot to learn and I’m looking forward to it.”
Ferrucci, who gained open-wheel experience in Europe in Formula 3, GP3 and Formula 2, joined Dale Coyne Racing at Detroit this season when rookie Pietro Fittipaldi was sidelined after being injured in a sports car crash in Belgium. Ferrucci drove a third DCR car alongside Bourdais and Fittipaldi in the final two races of the season, but he retains his rookie status for 2019.
“We were very happy with Santino’s performances this season in the races he did with us,” team owner Coyne said. “He showed a lot of maturity and the desire to learn and to keep improving. Had it not been for some unfortunate luck at Portland and again at Sonoma, he could have picked up even better results than what he did. We’re very excited to have him back full time in 2019 and seeing how he continues to grow and perform throughout the season.”
Ferrucci has yet to race on an oval, but he did complete a rookie oval orientation test at Texas Motor Speedway last month.
“Testing in Texas as a rookie was very fun. Sebastien gave me a lot of insight of things to look for and to train for,” Ferrucci said. “There’s a lot to learn about racing on an oval and I very much look forward to my first oval event being the Indy 500.”
The addition of Ferrucci makes for a potent INDYCAR rookie class that also includes Marcus Ericsson, Colton Herta, Patricio O'Ward and Felix Rosenqvist. The 2019 IndyCar Series begins with the Firestone Grand Prix of St. Petersburg on March 10.