James Hinchcliffe has expressed his interest in trying out other racing categories in the wake of losing his full-time IndyCar seat for the 2020 racing season.
Aside from his enforced injury lay-off after his serious Indianapolis qualifying accident in 2015, this will be the first season that Hinchcliffe has not competed in a full IndyCar schedule since entering the sport in 2011.
Hinchcliffe was recently able to secure sponsorship from Telecommunications company Genesys and will compete in the Indy 500 and the IndyCar Grand Prix in May, but has yet to confirm the team with which he will race.
With his 2020 schedule still open at this point, Hinchcliffe intends to use his extra availability to explore other driving opportunities he has not had time for in the past.
“It’s like when you graduate from school and you travel the world for a year before you go get a job,” Hinchcliffe said in an interview with The Globe and Mail.
“The IndyCar schedule and the demands of full-time IndyCar drivers are so great that a lot of these other opportunities, they’re just not realistic during a full IndyCar campaign.
“But with the way this year is shaping up, there are some doors opening and certainly some more options available that hopefully won’t be there next year because I’ll be back full time.”
Hinchcliffe hopes to be back in IndyCar full-time for the 2021 season but has made it clear that there are a lot of other races he’d like to experience and that he is not only interested in driving open-wheel cars.
“If it’s got four wheels and an engine, I’m into it. There’s a lot of races on the bucket list. First and foremost of the ones that I haven’t done already would obviously be the 24 Hours of Le Mans.
“I’ve always wanted to try a stock car, maybe do a stock car race, one of the road courses, something like that. Those are a few of the options we’re looking at as well.”
Hinchcliffe is not completely unfamiliar with endurance racing, having competed in the prototype class at the 24 Hours of Daytona on three occasions in recent years. He also recently took part in the 2019 Bathurst 1000 with fellow IndyCar driver Alexander Rossi as a co-driver.
NASCAR teams often bring in road course specialists, or “Ringers”, to drive for the couple non-oval races they compete each season at Watkins Glen and Sonoma. This could present a real opportunity for Hinchcliffe who is very familiar with Sonoma as it has been on the IndyCar schedule for most of his career.
The Canadian will still have a strong presence in IndyCar throughout this year, even if it is not always behind the wheel as he is still under contract with Arrow McLaren SP.