Tristan Vautier Gets Bourdais' IndyCar Seat This Weekend
Esteban Gutierrez's lack of oval experience will keep him out of the car at the challenging Texas Motor Speedway.
Dale Coyne Racing announced today that Tristan Vautier will be joining the team for this weekend's IndyCar race at the Texas Motor Speedway (TMS). He'll be the third driver in three race weekends to fill in for the injured Sebastien Bourdais.
James Davison took the seat before the Indy 500. Esteban Guiterrez got the drive for the two races in Detroit. The plan was for Guiterrez to drive for the rest of the season, but Guiterrez has never raced on an oval before, and the Texas track, especially with the limited running before the race, is not the sort of arena you want to learn in.
Vautier has raced here three times before. He was the 2012 Indy Lights champion and drove for Dale Coyne Racing in 2015. The team is hoping he can help their rookie driver, Ed Jones, get up to speed (so to speak), once the weekend gets underway.
The TMS is short oval with high banked corners. The corners at each end of the track have a different degree of banking. Turns one and two are at 20 degrees, while three and four are 24 degrees. The front straight isn't straight, either; but rather a long bend. The track's layout means cars can, and do, go extremely fast here.
Back in 2001, the CART race was canceled hours before the start as drivers were essentially blacking out on track. A few cars were doing laps with an average speed of over 236 mph on the 1.5-mile oval. The drivers were experiencing about 5 Gs sustained for the majority of the 22-second lap around the track.
While the cars won't be hitting those speeds this weekend, it was not worth the risk of running Gutierrez at the TMS. There is only one practice session before qualifying, which is not enough for Gutierrez, or anyone, to learn both the track and oval racing. Dale Coyne Racing had tried to set up a test at the track for Gutierrez in the days before the race, but it looks like the logistics of that couldn't get worked out.
Cars hit the track at the Texas Motor Speedway for the IndyCar Rainguard 600 on Friday, June 9, for practice and qualifying.
- 11 am ET - IndyCar Practice 1
- 3:10pm ET - IndyCar Qualifying
- 6:45pm ET - IndyCar Practice 2
The race is on Saturday, June 10, at 8 pm ET.