Former Force India Formula 1 reserve driver Alfonso Celis Jr will make his IndyCar debut with Juncos Racing at Road America next month.
After leaving the now-defunct Formula V8 3.5 championship and finding himself unable to continue his Force India role due to more stringent F1 superlicense rules, Celis initially announced a switch to Indy Lights with Juncos for 2018.
But having sat out the opening round of the season with a licensing problem before contesting the two subsequent races at Barber, he will now go ahead with an IndyCar effort instead.
Celis says he is hoping his high-downforce experience in F1 and Formula V8 3.5 will help him on his IndyCar debut.
“I’m very excited to be able to make my IndyCar series debut,” said Celis. “This is something that I’ve dreamed of since I was a kid and something that we have worked for many years to achieve.
“I’ve had a lot of experience in Europe with high-downforce and high-horsepower cars, both in my testing duties in Formula 1 and in my seasons at World Series V8 3.5, so I feel ready to take on this new challenge.
“The competition in IndyCar is very high and I know it will be hard work, but we will work with the Juncos team so that we can catch up as quickly as possible.
“I’m really looking forward to Road America and to the opportunities that this will open.”
Juncos Racing team owner Ricardo Juncos has been building up his team’s IndyCar operations, having signed Rene Binder and Indy Lights champion Kyle Kaiser to a rideshare in 2018.
Celis will pilot the #32 car, used by Binder and Kaiser earlier this year, at Road America.
“Although this comes as a surprise for our Indy Lights team, this is another step forward with our IndyCar programme,” said Juncos.
“Alfonso has proved he is ready to make this move from the success he has previously had in F1 and I look forward to working with him in the IndyCar series.”
Juncos will look to replace Celis for its Indy Lights two-car team but is open to adding a third entry in 2018.