Fittipaldi to run Gateway IndyCar race, not Le Mans

Pietro Fittipaldi will enter all four oval races in the 2021 NTT IndyCar Series, and will thus be forced to skip the 24 Hours of Le Mans.

The original plan was for him to run Le Mans with G-Drive as well as run the ovals for Dale Coyne Racing with RWR-Honda.

However, when Le Mans was pushed back from its traditional mid-June date to August 21-22, Fittipaldi was forced to choose between sharing G-Drive’s LMP2 Aurus (ORECA) Gibson with Rui Andrade and John Falb, and competing at World Wide Technology Raceway at Gateway.

The grandson of IndyCar legend Emerson Fittipaldi has elected for the latter, a venue at which he shone in his injury-interrupted 2018 season with Coyne. With the grid set by points due to rain ending qualifying, and Fittipaldi having missed several races due to his WEC shunt at Spa, he was forced to start at the back of the field at the 1.25-mile oval, yet came through to finish 11th.

This weekend in the Texas Motor Speedway double-header, Fittipaldi will make his first IndyCar starts in more than two years when he takes over the #51 Coyne-RWR car driven in the opening two rounds by Romain Grosjean. Next month he will be entered for the 105th running of the Indianapolis 500.

Fittipaldi’s presence at Gateway increases the possibility of Coyne running three cars there – for full-timer Ed Jones in the DCR with Vasser Sullivan car, and then two cars in partnership with Rick Ware Racing for Fittipaldi and Grosjean.

While ex-Formula 1 driver Grosjean has said no to superspeedways this year, he’s admitted on record and in private that he’s intrigued by oval racing, and Coyne confirmed to Motorsport.com that the 35-year-old Frenchman last weekend again discussed the possibility of racing at Gateway.

Coyne has already stated that the team can and will run three cars at Gateway should Grosjean elect to race there.

DCR has three entries in the Indy 500, for Jones, Fittipaldi and Cody Ware, who completed his Rookie Orientation Program earlier this month. However, Ware is still seeking more sponsorship to seal the ride.

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