Pietro Fittipaldi will get more testing miles for Dale Coyne Racing this week, not only on Monday at Sonoma Raceway, but also at the 1.022-mile Phoenix oval.
The newly-named ISM Raceway in Phoenix, AZ, is hosting IndyCar’s official Spring Training on Friday-Saturday this week, Feb. 9-10. However, rookie oval testing will be conducted on Thursday, Feb. 8, with Fittipaldi at the wheel of a DCR-Honda.
As team owner Dale Coyne told Motorsport.com last month, the plan is to run at least two drivers in the #19 car this year. One will be Canada’s Zachary Claman de Melo, who finished fifth in last year’s Indy Lights championship racing for Carlin, while reigning World Series Formula V8 3.5 champion Pietro Fittipaldi moved into contention as the second driver after an impressive inaugural IndyCar test performance at Sebring.
Should all go to plan, Fittipaldi is expected to sign a deal with Coyne early this week. Speculation over a possible third driver being involved have now faded, according to a team insider, although it is not yet clear which of the #19 entry's drivers will compete in which races.
The #18 DCR car will be driven fulltime by Sebastien Bourdais, who won last year’s season opener at St. Petersburg but missed nine races after a huge shunt in time trials for the Indianapolis 500.