Juri Vips

Rahal Letterman Lanigan Racing (RLL) announced Aug. 28 that Estonian driver Juri Vips will make his NTT INDYCAR SERIES debut in the team’s No. 30 entry at the BITNILE.com Grand Prix of Portland on Sunday, Sept. 3 and will drive in the Firestone Grand Prix of Monterey on Sunday, Sept. 10 at WeatherTech Raceway Laguna Seca.

Vips, 23, drove an INDYCAR SERIES car for the first time Oct. 12, 2022, at Sebring International Raceway in a test for RLL and again March 13 of this year at Barber Motorsports Park. He has also performed static simulator testing for the team during the season.

“I’m super happy to get the opportunity with Rahal Letterman Lanigan Racing and very thankful to Bobby (Rahal), Mike (Lanigan) and everyone at the team,” Vips said. “I haven’t been driving all year, so the anticipation for this opportunity has been immense, but I’m really looking forward to starting again. We tested together at the end of 2022 in Sebring, and it seemed like we just jelled. I got along with everyone, and I really like the atmosphere at the team. Bobby’s also one to give second chances, and I’m extremely grateful that he is giving me one and I really hope to bring a good result for him, Mike and the whole team.

“I hope I can prove myself and most importantly get them into the winner’s circle, which is always my main mission. I feel ready for these races, I think the tracks suit my experience and driving style and the car, as well. I’ve already integrated myself with the team this year, doing some work for them on the simulator, so I already know the people and feel very comfortable with everyone, which is a big benefit for me, as well.”

Vips last raced in the FIA Formula 2 Championship, one level below Formula One. Vips’ teammate Christian Lundgaard, who won this year at Toronto, also competed in that series before moving to the NTT INDYCAR SERIES, as did fellow young standouts Callum Ilott of Juncos Hollinger Racing and Marcus Armstrong of Chip Ganassi Racing.

While racing for Hitech Grand Prix in F2 in 2021-22, Vips earned three victories and two poles. His best championship finish was sixth in 2021, placing ahead of Lundgaard and Armstrong.

Before his climb to F2, Vips competed in a variety of European junior formula categories. He won the ADAC Formula 4 Championship in 2017. Vips also served as a Formula One test and reserve driver for Red Bull Racing from 2020-22.

“I’m very pleased for the team to enter Juri in the Portland and Laguna Seca races,” team co-owner Bobby Rahal said. “Clearly, he was the lead Red Bull Junior driver a few years ago and exhibited a lot of talent, which we saw during the two tests he ran with us, so we’re looking forward to seeing what he can do on a race weekend.”

Live coverage of the BITNILE.COM Grand Prix at Portland starts at 3 p.m. ET Sunday, Sept. 3 on NBC, Peacock and the INDYCAR Radio Network.