Chip Ganassi Racing announced today that driver Max Chilton will return to drive the No. 8 car next season.
International insurance brokerage and risk management services firm Arthur J. Gallagher will also return as the primary partner on the car. Gallagher, headquartered in Itasca, Illinois, has operations in 33 countries and offers client-service capabilities in more than 150 countries around the world through a network of correspondent brokers and consultants.
“I think we were able to build a solid foundation in my rookie year in the Verizon IndyCar Series with the support of Gallagher and the team,” Chilton said. “The learning curve is very steep here, and the field is separated by just a few seconds from top to bottom with really talented teams and drivers, which makes the competition incredibly close. Having a year of experience now to adapt to the car and learn all of the courses on the schedule is huge for us. Chip and Gallagher give us everything we need to be competitive and go out to contend for wins, so I’m optimistic for the direction of the No. 8 Gallagher team heading into next season.”
Chilton’s Rookie season didn’t go as well as anyone had hoped, finishing 19th in the final standings, and recording just two top-ten finishes (Phoenix, Watkins Glen). He finished 15th in his first Indianapolis 500. Despite the overall results, Chilton did show flashes of the talent that landed him a seat in the Verizon IndyCar Series. He finished fifth in the Indy Lights championship in 2015 with Carlin Racing, and scored a win at Iowa.
The 25-year old heads into an interesting year for Ganassi’s squad, as they shift back to Honda. Learning the aero kit and engine components will be key for their success in 2017. Preparations for that begin in two days, when the team heads to Sebring International Raceway to test. All four drivers (Scott Dixon, Tony Kanaan, Charlie Kimball, and Chilton) will be on hand, in addition to Dale Coyne’s team with Sebastien Bourdais and Rookie Ed Jones.
With today’s announcement from Ganassi, the driver lineup for the 2017 season is essentially complete. The two remaining seats in question belong to Ed Carpenter Racing (No. 20 car non-ovals) and KV Racing (No. 11 car).
The 2017 Verizon IndyCar Series season begins on the streets of St Petersburg on March 12.