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Dale Coyne Racing has confirmed that the final seat on the 2018 IndyCar grid will be shared between Pietro Fittipaldi and Indy Lights graduate Zachary Claman de Melo.
Fittipaldi announced on Tuesday he had secured a drive for seven of the 17 IndyCar races in 2018, including the Indianapolis 500, after team owner Dale Coyne admitted that the car would need to be shared due to a lack of drivers with significant backing.
DeMelo has conducted significant testing with DCR after finishing fifth in Indy Lights last year, before making his IndyCar debut at the 2017 season finale at Sonoma with Rahal Letterman Lanigan Racing.
The Canadian will be on the grid at the season-opener at St Petersburg and DeMelo is targeting wins in his first season.
“Paysafe [the #19 car’s primary sponsor] helped me attain a life ambition last September when I made my IndyCar series debut in Sonoma,” said De Melo.
“I am hugely grateful for their ongoing support as I prepare for the forthcoming races.
“I feel proud to be representing their brand again on the race track and I shall be doing all I can to get the car into victory lane.”
DCR has also confirmed that Fittipaldi will complete his rookie orientation test on Thursday before taking part in the Phoenix open test.
DeMelo is slated to take over the car at Sebring before the end of the month.
“With Zach and Pietro’s ever-growing skills, we look forward to a competitive 2018 season,” said Coyne.
Earlier this week, DCR formed a partnership with ex-KV Racing boss Jimmy Vasser and his partner James Sullivan to back Sebastien Bourdais in 2018.
2018 IndyCar line-up
Penske: Josef Newgarden, Simon Pagenaud, Will Power
Chip Ganassi Racing: Scott Dixon, Ed Jones
Rahal Letterman Lanigan Racing: Graham Rahal, Takuma Sato
Andretti Autosport: Alexander Rossi, Ryan Hunter-Reay, Marco Andretti, Zach Veach
Schmidt Peterson Motorsports: James Hinchcliffe, Robert Wickens
Dale Coyne Racing: Sebastien Bourdais, Pietro Fittipaldi/Zachary Claman de Melo
Ed Carpenter Racing: Spencer Pigot, Jordan King
AJ Foyt: Tony Kaanan, Matheus Leist
Carlin: Max Chilton, Charlie Kimball