JR Hildebrand to return to IndyCar full-time in 2017 with Ed Carpenter Racing
Ed Carpenter Racing has announced that JR Hildebrand will return to IndyCar full-time for the 2017 season, replacing Josef Newgarden in the #21 car following his move to Penske.
Hildebrand, 28, raced full-time with Panther Racing in IndyCar in 2010 and 2011, recording a best finish of second at the 2011 Indianapolis 500, and has worked with Ed Carpenter Racing through the month of May for the past three years.
Hildebrand finished sixth in the 2016 Indy 500, and has also completed extensive testing for the team through 2016, but will now step up to a full-time race seat for next year.
"Honestly, I just couldn’t be more ready to get started!" Hildebrand said.
“I’ve been close to, but still outside of, this role for long enough to really understand and embrace the opportunity to be back in the Verizon IndyCar Series full-time.”
"The relationship I’ve had with Ed Carpenter and ECR has honed my determination to get back in the seat because of how confident I feel in what we could do together. Now, I’m here to make it happen. I feel like I’ve got something to prove and can’t think of a better place to do it."
"We first started talking about this in 2013 and the timing has just now worked to give JR an opportunity to show what he can do with a full-time ride," team owner Ed Carpenter added.
"The job that he has done for the team each time we have put him in a car the past three years has proven to us that he is the right man for the job.
“Whether it has been his role with the team during the past three 500s or the testing he has done for us over the past two years, he consistently shows he deserves a full-time opportunity. I am confident that JR will shine in the 21 car and that ECR will continue to post the results we have grown to expect."
Carpenter will return to the #20 ECR car for the six oval races in 2017, but the team is yet to decide on whether it will also retain the second entry for the street and road course events.