Former Indy Lights and Pro Mazda champion hopes 2015 performances will keep him at Dale Coyne Racing
Young French ace Tristan Vautier has declared that he’s aiming for a full-time IndyCar berth in 2016, despite his regular sports car duties over the past two years.
This past season, the 2012 Indy Lights champion drove for Dale Coyne Racing from the Indianapolis 500 through to season’s end, scoring a fourth at Detroit and sixth at Mid-Ohio. Most recently he tested for DCR at Road America last Monday, and he’s keen for the relationship to continue.
“We’re having discussions now, and I really hope to stay with Dale,” Vautier told Motorsport.com. “I was very happy to be invited back this week, as it was the first time I’d had a full test day with the team.
“Last year we never had that chance and the weekends would just go by so fast, we could not afford the time to experiment. The risks of going in the wrong direction were too big. At Road America, just one day of testing made a big difference. We got to try a lot of different things and found things about the car. We understood a lot more. It was really good.”
Vautier was only 20th in his first full season in IndyCar in 2013, several times showing great pace for Schmidt Peterson Motorsport, able to match teammate Simon Pagenaud, but also having several incidents. His best finish that season was a 10th place.
Last year saw Vautier racing Mazda’s prototype in the endurance rounds of the IMSA TUDOR Championship, and working on the Mazda Road To Indy program, but his call-up by Coyne this year saw him back where he wants to be.
“I don’t know if Dale is doing the Sebring test and if he is, I don’t know if he wants to run me, but I’m not going to rush him to make a decision,” said Vautier who has excelled at every step on the junior open-wheel ladder, culminating in winning Pro Mazda and Indy Lights in back-to-back seasons, 2011-’12. “But I’ve been so happy racing with Dale Coyne Racing this season, I think I’ve gained his trust, the team had good chemistry and we’ve been building momentum.
“I do like to do sports cars on the side, and I'm going to Petit Le Mans for discussions, but I love IndyCar and I think the continuity of myself and Dale staying together would be a really good thing. There’s a lot of potential that we haven’t shown yet.”