Claman De Melo to test, maybe race, with Coyne (2nd Update)
|Claman De Melo|
UPDATE Zachary Claman DeMelo, 19, was supposed to test drive the #19 Honda for Dale Coyne Racing on Wednesday, January 10th at Sebring International Raceway in Sebring, Florida in an attempt to land a ride with the team for the 2018 IndyCar season. However, that test did not end up happening.
Claman DeMelo’s drug test results were not received in time, and this clearance issue prevented him from being allowed to test when he was initially scheduled to test, which was just days after he signed with driver manager Stefan Johansson. As a result, the test will happen this Wednesday.
01/11/18 The French-Canadian driver was in Sebring on Wednesday with DCR and intended to drive Sebastien Bourdais' No. 18 Honda, but his drug test results were not received from the lab so he could not drive reports RACER
"I don't know what happened; IndyCar says they never got my results from the lab, but now they should have them tomorrow, I was told," the 19-year-old told RACER. "I'm clean – no worries there – but without the results, I wasn't able to run. It's a shame."
With the anticipated clearance forthcoming, Claman De Melo and DCR are targeting a new date at Sebring.
"Seb is meant to be back here on the 24th, so we're talking about me being there to test the 25th," he added. "And we're continuing to talk with Dale in the meantime about racing for the team."
Veteran racer and driver manager Stefan Johansson has taken over Claman De Melo's racing affairs and will look to strike a deal with Coyne for as many races as possible in 2018. Racer.com
01/08/18 Canada's Zachary Claman De Melo will test with Dale Coyne Racing on Wednesday at Sebring and is in the frame for a race seat alongside Sebastien Bourdais.
"I'm doing the test with Coyne and it's also looking more like I'll be racing with them this year, but nothing's done," the Mazda Road To Indy graduate told RACER.
The French Canadian made his first Verizon IndyCar Series start at the end of the season with Rahal Letterman Lanigan Racing in Sonoma. The former Carlin Racing driver set a string of impressive laps during 2017's finale as teammate to Graham Rahal, and has been searching for a ride throughout the offseason.
Having changed management teams, Claman De Melo will rely on Stefan Johansson, who also looks after four-time IndyCar champion Scott Dixon, to finalize a deal with the Honda-powered DCR team.
The primary question facing the 19-year-old from Montreal is whether he will be the sole occupant of the No. 19 Honda. RACER has learned former Bryan Herta Autosport and A.J. Foyt Racing driver Jack Hawksworth is a heavy favorite of the Japanese manufacturer, and could end up sharing the seat with Claman De Melo this season.
After parting ways with the Foyt team at the conclusion of a fruitless 2016 season, the Briton turned his attention to IMSA and sports cars, where he became a factory driver for Lexus on its introduction to the GT Daytona category. Hawksworth is set to compete at the Rolex 24 at Daytona with the Paul Gentilozzi-owned 3GT Lexus program, but if he is given a second chance in IndyCar with Coyne, it's unclear how much juggling would be required between sports car and open-wheel responsibilities.
Provided one or both drivers steps into the No. 19 Honda, the last full-time entry for the 2018 season will be filled.
Coyne and Andretti Autosport will be testing Tuesday at Sebring, marking Zach Veach's first laps with his 2018 car and new team. Chip Ganassi Racing's Scott Dixon and Ed Jones will join them on Wednesday. Marshall Pruett/Racer