Juncos Racing announced Friday that it has chosen Austrian driver Rene Binder to drive four races in the upcoming 2018 Verizon Indy Car Series season.
A native of Innsbruck, Austria, Binder will begin his stint with the season opening race March 11 in St. Petersburg, Florida. He’s also slated to run the road courses at Barber Motorsports Park in Birmingham, Alabama, as well as Mid-Ohio, and the street course in downtown Toronto.
“I have been a huge fan of IndyCar and what the series has to offer to me as a driver,” Binder said in a media release. “I had a hard decision to make this year on which path I would take in my career, and I am confident that I made the right decision.
“Right now, we have signed for four races, but I hope to add more to our schedule as the season progresses.”
Binder comes to IndyCar from the World Series Formula V8 Series, where he earned four wins, five podium appearances and two pole positions. He finished the season fourth in the championship.
“Rene has a successful background running in the World Series V8 and GP2, along with the testing he has done within Formula 1, and I know he will carry that momentum into the Verizon IndyCar Series this year,” team owner Ricardo Juncos said. “The timing is right for a talented driver like Rene to join, as everyone will be starting over with the new IndyCar aero kits.”
Binder is a third-generation driver and joins 2017 Indy Lights champion Kyle Kaiser on the Juncos IndyCar effort in 2018. Binder will make his first test in an Indy car in late February, the team said.
WATCH: Red Bull F1 team completes pit stop in zero gravity
The Red Bull Racing pit crew may have already made headlines last weekend when it completed the fastest pit stop in Formula One history, changing Max Verstappen’s tires in 1.82 seconds, but the team’s most recent stunt took their skills to new heights – quite literally.
With the help of the Russian Space agency Roscomos, a group of the team’s mechanics completed the world’s first zero-gravity pit stop, on-board a IIyushin II-76K cosmonaut training plane.
Using a 2005 BR1, the team filmed the viral video over the course of a week, enduring seven flights and about 80 parabolas – periods in which the plane climbs 45 degrees before falling again at a ballistic arch of 45 degrees, creating a period of weightlessness for approximately 22 seconds.
With such a short time frame between weightlessness periods, the car and equipment had to be both quickly and safely secured before gravity once again took effect. Each filming lasted roughly 15 seconds, and the stunt was the most physically and technically demanding activity the live demo team had ever undertaken.
“It pushed us harder than I thought it would,” said Red Bull Support Team Mechanic Joe Robinson. “You realize how much you rely on gravity when you don’t have any!
“It challenges you to think and operate in a different way – and that was brilliant. It was a once in a lifetime opportunity and honestly, I could have stayed and done it all month. It was amazing. I think it’s the coolest, most fun thing the Live Demo team has ever done with a show car.”
Though Red Bull was the first team to perform a pit stop in zero gravity, surprisingly Red Bull was not the first team to put a car through zero gravity. In 1999, McLaren driver David Coulthard and his car experienced zero gravity as part of a promotion for then-sponsor West Cigarettes.