The 2019 IndyCar season is still a few months away, but there has been plenty of newsworthy items over the past couple of weeks. With the PRI show going on in Indianapolis this week, now is the time for announcements and confirmations for the 2019 calendar year in motorsports. Below is a quick recap of the main stories.
The first big announcement came yesterday, when Harding Steinbrenner Racing announced that they will run Honda-powered engines for the upcoming season. The two-car team will have an alliance with Andretti Autosport, as they prepare for a big year with promising Rookies Patricio O’Ward and Colton Herta. This announcement came a week after McLaren stated that they would be using Chevrolet engines next year.
The final on track test took place on Wednesday at Sebring, where the Team Penske trio of Will Power, Josef Newgarden, and Simon Pagenaud shared the course with former Formula One driver Marcus Ericsson. This was the first time Ericsson had driven an IndyCar, as he will pilot the No. 7 car for Schmidt Peterson Motorsports next season.
It was an eventful week for Power. In addition to testing at Sebring, he came back to the Indianapolis Motor Speedway to have his likeness unveiled on the Borg Warner Trophy after winning the 103rd Running of the Indianapolis 500.
It has been quite the year for Roger Penske, who won the Indianapolis 500, the NASCAR Cup championship, and an title in V8 supercars. Today they announced their IMSA lineup would remain the same, but that Alexander Rossi would replace Graham Rahal in the Rolex 24 at Daytona, and the 12 Hours of Sebring endurance events.
Chip Ganassi has added Kurt Busch to his NASCAR Cup program, where he will team with Kyle Larson. Chip stated that everything is on the table for Kurt, including another run in the Indianapolis 500. When asked about the Indy 500, Le Mans, and Rolex 24 races, Ganassi said “All our cars are available to all of our drivers.” That could bode well for Larson.
IndyCar announced that Speedway will now serve as the official partner and fuel supplier for the series, replacing Sunoco. IndyCar Competition President Jay Frye told RACER that they would be sticking with E85 ethanol through the 2020 season. After that season, there would be plenty of other discussions that would be on the table.
The Indianapolis Motor Speedway announced that the Driven 2 Save Lives BC39 will return next year after a highly successful debut this past September. Next years event will run on September 4-5, once again kicking off the Brickyard 400 weekend. Tony Kanaan and his wife, Lauren, will serve as the honorary chairs for the 2019 Rev Gala event at IMS.