Detroit, MI (June 1, 2017) – Former Formula One driver Esteban Gutierrez will be filling in for the injured Sebastien Bourdais aboard the #18 Dale Coyne Racing entry this weekend as he makes his Series debut at the Detroit Grand Prix doubleheader.
"I’m very grateful to join Dale Coyne Racing, a highly competitive team,” expressed the Mexican. “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.
“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. 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.”
While it will be his first time aboard an Indy car, the new DCR pilot has plenty of experience racing overseas in top open-wheel racing series.
From 2013 to 2014, Gutierrez raced in Formula One full-time with the Sauber F1 team after two years as their test driver. He then moved on to join Scuderia Ferrari as a test driver in 2015 before competing for a full season with the Haas F1 team in 2016.
Prior to his time in Formula One, he made his mark in the GP2 Series placing third in the Championship standings in 2012 on the strength of seven podium finishes including three wins. In 2010, he took home the GP3 Series Championship thanks to his nine podium finishes in 16 races, which included five race wins.
“We’re going to miss having Sebastien in the #18 car, but we’re very happy with our choice of a replacement for him this weekend,” shared 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.”
Following his years in the karting ranks, Gutierrez made his American racing debut when he competed in the Formula BMW USA Series in 2007. That season, he scored four wins on his way to a runner-up finish and picked up rookie of the year honors. For 2008, he moved to the Formula BMW Europe Series where he reached the title with 12 podium finishes, including seven wins. Since the start of the year, the Mexican has been racing in the Formula E series.
Gutierrez will be on track starting Friday, June 2 for the first practice session at 10:20am. The first race of the doubleheader weekend goes green at 3:50pm on Saturday, June 3, 2017.
Bourdais suffered multiple fractures to the pelvis and a broken right hip during an incident on the third lap of his qualifying attempt for the 101st Indianapolis 500 on May 20th. Following successful surgery, Bourdais will be out for an estimated three months.