Juncos Hollinger Racing (JHR) has named Argentine racing star Agustín Canapino to its NTT INDYCAR SERIES driver lineup in 2023.
Canapino, 32, will drive the team’s No. 78 Dallara-Chevrolet and will partner Callum Ilott of Great Britain as the team expands to two cars this season. Canapino will be the first driver from Argentina to contest a full season in America’s premier open-wheel series since Juan Manuel Fangio II drove in the INDYCAR SERIES 25 years ago.
“For me, this is a great opportunity, so I am very grateful to Ricardo Juncos, Brad Hollinger, to the Circuit of Termas de Río Hondo and all the sponsors that are making this possible,” Canapino said. “I’m going to do my best in every moment to get the best possible results.
“I'm going in with my mind set on learning and going step-by-step, but I’m also focused on evolving throughout the season. The goal is to finish the races, get to know the car, and the circuits – especially the ovals.”
Canapino is one of Argentina’s most successful drivers and steps up to the NTT INDYCAR SERIES after claiming 15 national championships in his homeland – winning multiple titles in the Super TC2000, Top Race V6 and Turismo Carretera categories. He also has enjoyed a successful association with Chevrolet during his career and will continue that relationship with JHR, which uses Chevrolet engines for its entries.
He has previous experience as a JHR driver, having raced for the Indianapolis-based team in 2019 when he formed part of its Cadillac DPi entry at the Rolex 24 At Daytona and the 12 Hours of Sebring.
Canapino got his first taste of the current-generation INDYCAR SERIES car when he successfully completed a private test with JHR last October at Sebring International Raceway.
“INDYCAR is the most competitive and difficult category in the world, and the cars are the most demanding and require the maximum effort and preparation on my part,” Canapino said. “I am happy to take on this challenge, and I’m motivated to perform well and repay those that have trusted me with this opportunity.”
Canapino’s arrival ensures the NTT INDYCAR SERIES will have 27 full-time driver-car pairings in 2023, the most since the 2011 season. It also marks a significant milestone in the growth of the JHR team.
"To be able to communicate this news today is incredible for me and my team,” said Ricardo Juncos, JHR founder and team principal. “It has been more than 20 years since I came to North American motorsports. It has been a long road of uninterrupted hard work in which I have been fulfilling different dreams, and to see this particular one becoming a reality is truly incredible.
“After a complete analysis of each of the driver options we had to drive our No. 78 car, we have made the decision that Agustín Canapino is the right choice. Both Brad (Hollinger) and I have full confidence in his ability.
“With a very successful racing career in Argentina behind him, he exceeded all expectations when he trained at Sebring and he’s confirmed that talent with what we’ve seen in his driving since.”
Said team co-owner Brad Hollinger: “Callum demonstrated significant potential during his inaugural 2022 campaign as he surprised the field with his strong pace while learning every track. Partnering Agustín with Callum gives Juncos Hollinger Racing an extremely talented and proven driver lineup. Agustin brings an unparalleled level of success in multiple race series to the team. His ability to adapt is exceptional and the significant experience he has accumulated winning multiple championships will complement Callum and the team nicely.
“We look forward to competing at the tip of the arrow this year with the goal of multiple podiums.”
Canapino became more well known in the INDYCAR community after he turned exhibition laps in a JHR car last year in his native Argentina on a promotional tour for the sport and series. The team and Canapino appeared at the Autódromo de Buenos Aires and the International Circuit of Termas de Rio Hondo during their “INDYCAR Exhibition.” Their presence marked the first time an INDYCAR SERIES car had run in Argentina for 51 years and 75,000 fans (60,000 in Buenos Aires and 15,000 in Termas de Rio Hondo) packed the grandstands to witness the historical moment.
Having brought Argentina and INDYCAR closer together in recent months, team co-owner Juncos also confirmed a new collaboration between JHR and “Visit Argentina” to promote the country to motorsports fans in North America during 2023.
“I want to thank the main collaboration of INPROTUR (National Bureau of Tourism Promotion), which is the entity that promotes Argentina throughout the world and who, from the very first moment, believed in this project,” Juncos said. “Representing my country permanently and promoting tourism in Argentina throughout the INDYCAR SERIES, including at the famous Indy 500, fills me with pride and is another dream come true.”
Canapino’s debut INDYCAR season will also be supported by Argentina’s Termas de Río Hondo circuit.