Dale Coyne Racing celebrates its 30th year in the IZOD IndyCar Series this season, and announced Friday it has locked up one of its drivers to a rare long-term contract.
The team and driver Justin Wilson announced a three-year extension, while also confirming Wilson’s part-time teammate Ana Beatriz for St. Petersburg, Brazil, Indianapolis, and “select other races.”
“In evaluating Dale’s commitment to the sport, we have signed a long-term agreement,” Wilson said, whose three-year contract also comes with options. “We had a great season last year highlighted by our first win at an oval track in Texas. The entire team’s back, so I am expecting good things to happen.”
As for Wilson’s younger brother, Stefan, plans are developing for the 23-year-old to make his debut at Barber next race. He is again in the paddock this weekend.
Justin Wilson has switched from the No. 18 back to 19 this season, a number he has raced with only once previously for Coyne. That came in his team debut at St. Petersburg in 2009, when he finished third. He switched to 18 for use the remainder of that year and also last year.
MotorSportsTalk continues its review of the Verizon IndyCar Series field, driver-by-driver, with a look at Ryan Briscoe. Despite not having a ride to start the year, Briscoe ended strongly courtesy of a series of strong runs at Schmidt Peterson Motorsports.
Ryan Briscoe, No. 5 Schmidt Peterson Motorsports Honda
- 2014: 11th Place, Best Finish 4th, Best Start 4th, 1 Top-5, 11 Top-10, 5 Laps Led, 12.8 Avg. Start, 10.6 Avg. Finish
- 2015: 18th Place (8 starts), Best Finish 5th, Best Start 2nd, 1 Top-5, 4 Top-10, 10 Laps Led, 17.8 Avg. Start, 12.0 Avg. Finish
For those who slag on Briscoe as being undeserving of top level equipment, his 2015 second half provided a friendly reminder of his overall ability level in what might be less than the best machinery.
Briscoe was thrust into the No. 5 car under trying circumstances to begin with, getting all of an hour’s worth practice replacing the injured James Hinchcliffe ahead of the Indianapolis 500. But subsequent drives on the ovals there, Texas, Fontana, Milwaukee and Iowa – even if the results were less than ideal – showcased a driver determined to show to the paddock he still had it, and then some. His defense against Juan Pablo Montoya in Sonoma was nothing short of brilliant, and courtesy of double points he actually finished ahead of full-season driver Stefano Coletti.
The Australian immediately gelled with the SPM team, engineer Allen McDonald and race strategist Robert Gue. He continues to prove he’s an asset, as he has enjoyed multiple opportunities to extend his career in various arenas of motorsport in both open-wheel and sports cars, the latter of which he won at both the Rolex 24 at Daytona and the Mobil 1 Twelve Hours of Sebring with Corvette Racing this year.
Following an early retirement for Mercedes AMG Petronas teammate Nico Rosberg, Lewis Hamilton has closed even more on his third Formula 1 World Championship.
View it above in the race recap from the 2015 Russian Grand Prix.