JR Hildebrand will go drift racing later this year

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JR Hildebrand’s been known to light the tires before when driving or testing some American muscle cars. Now the third year Panther Racing driver will have a chance to put that practice into race situations later this year, in Formula Drift.

Hildebrand will race with Tyler McQuarrie’s drift team at two IndyCar off weekends, Seattle July 19-20 and Irwindale Oct. 11-12. The friendship came together via their mutual relationship with sponsor GoPro, and the No. 6 Chevrolet Camaro will also be sponsored by Mobil 1.

“I’m pumped to join Tyler with his Camaro program and to get into Formula D,” Hildebrand said. “Since as early as 2004 I’ve thought drifting was an awesome and unique area of motorsport, so I’m very excited to finally get involved myself.”

It’s been a less than stellar start to his IndyCar season, with an accident in St. Petersburg and 17th in Barber – both from just 24th spot on the grid.

With one of three races in California up next for IndyCar, Hildebrand looks to reverse his luck in his home state. The Northern California native finished fifth at last year’s Toyota Grand Prix of Long Beach after a similarly frustrating first two races.

Marco Andretti confident that fewer tests won’t hurt Andretti Autosport

Photo: IndyCar
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A small point of debate around the 2018 aero kit has been the manufacturer test days that took place through the Fall of 2017 and into the beginning of 2018. Chiefly, the debate has centered around teams who hadn’t participated in those manufacturer test days and if they’re starting the 2018 Verizon IndyCar Series season at a disadvantage as a result.

Team Penske, Ed Carpenter Racing, and A.J. Foyt Racing completed test days for Chevrolet, with Schmidt Peterson Motorsports and Chip Ganassi Racing doing so for Honda.

That left teams like Andretti Autosport out of the mix, with some voicing concerns as a result.

However, in a press conference during testing at ISM Raceway last weekend, Marco Andretti explained that he thinks Andretti Autosport should be able to catch up on development, citing the team’s resources – they’re the only IndyCar team with four full-time cars in their stable – and the fact that everyone is still adapting to the new kit.

“I feel like it’s early enough days that, yes, we can catch up,” Andretti said at ISM Raceway. “When there is anything new, a new car, new aero kit, at-track days are huge. We can sim all these things we want. To really get out there and confirm what we’re learning back at the shop is another thing.”

Ryan Hunter-Reay during testing at ISM Raceway. Photo: IndyCar

Andretti continued, “Yeah, I don’t think we should look at it like we’re behind the eight ball. With a four-car team, that’s where we can use it to our benefit. So far so good.”

Teammate Ryan Hunter-Reay, echoed Andretti’s sentiments, adding that while the situation is not perfect, they will need to adapt to it in order to remain competitive.

“Any time you have a new car, to put it into perspective, we’re on track three days on a road course before we get to (the season open in St. Petersburg). That’s a very short amount of time. It’s obviously not ideal, but we’re just going to lace up our boots and get on with it. That’s all you can do.”

Andretti Autosport will have one more team test, at Sebring International Raceway later on in February, before the season-opening Firestone Grand Prix of St. Petersburg.

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