Luca Filippi is entered as driver for the No. 19 Dale Coyne Racing Honda for this weekend’s two-day Verizon IndyCar Series test at Phoenix International Raceway.
While Filippi has not been officially named as the driver of Coyne’s second full-time car for the 2016 season – and the Coyne second car is notorious for being one of if not the last confirmed seats in the series – signs appear to be pointing in that direction.
Per a Motorsport.com report, while Coyne is reportedly in talks with as many as six different drivers, the report claimed “a deal with (Filippi) could be imminent.”
Filippi drove for Ed Carpenter’s then-CFH Racing team in road and street course events in 2015. In 10 races, Filippi’s best finish was second at Toronto.
Filippi also competed in four races each for Rahal Letterman Racing in 2014 and Bryan Herta Autosport in 2013.
Coyne told Motorsport.com that Filippi “would be a good fit for the team.”
While the only oval experience the 20-year-old Italian has had has been a test at Iowa last year, that’s not a deal breaker for Coyne.
“That hasn’t been out of choice,” Coyne told Motorsport.com of Filippi’s lack of oval tenure. “That was just the deal he had with Ed (Carpenter). … He seems keen and enthusiastic about the whole idea (of racing on ovals).
If Filippi is chosen for Coyne’s second car, he would be teammates with Conor Daly, who joined the team in December and who will compete for IndyCar Rookie of the Year.
In a sense, Filippi could be making a final audition for the DCR ride during the Phoenix test. Among other names that have popped up in contention for the ride is Gabby Chaves, who became available after the recent merger between Bryan Herta Autosport and Andretti Autosport.
While Coyne has gone with revolving driver lineups in the past, the team may be inclined to just have two full-time drivers only in 2016.