Former Force India F1 test driver Alfonso Celis Jr will make his Verizon IndyCar Series debut at Road America in June. The Mexican who is competing in the 2018 IndyLights championship, will graduate to IndyCar with his current team Juncos Racing.
“I’m very excited to be able to make my Verizon IndyCar Series debut,” said Celis Jr. “This is something that I’ve dreamed of since I was a kid and something that we have worked for many years to achieve.”
Celis Jr will pilot the No. 32 Chevrolet/Juncos Racing car on the famous road course on June 24 at the Kohler Grand Prix.
Despite limited running since his move from Formula 1 testing duties, Celis Jr is looking forward to his IndyCar debut: “I’ve had a lot of experience in Europe with high downforce and high horsepower cars, both in my testing duties in Formula 1 and in my seasons at World Series V8 3.5, so I feel ready to take on this new challenge.”
Juncos Racing made their own IndyCar debut this season with IndyLights champion Kyle Kaiser and Austrian Rene Binder sharing driving duties. Though the move will require enforced changes in Juncos’ IndyLights squad, team owner Ricardo Juncos is excited about the potential shown by Celis Jr.
“Although this comes as a surprise for our Indy Lights team, this is another step forward with our IndyCar program. Alfonso has proved he is ready to make this move from the success he has previously had in Formula 1 and I look forward to working with him in the IndyCar Series”, explained Juncos.
“In the meantime, we will continue to search for a replacement in the Indy Lights car, and maybe even a driver for our third car.”
Celis Jr himself is under no illusions about the scale of the task facing him, in particular his lack of IndyCar seat time between now and the race in June: “The competition in IndyCar is very high and I know it will be hard work, but we will work with the Juncos team so that we can catch up as quickly as possible. I’m really looking forward to Road America and to the opportunities that this will open.”
The Kohler Grand Prix at Road America takes place 22 – 24 June and will be broadcast live on NBCSN.