Former Formula 2 driver Juri Vips will make his IndyCar debut this weekend with Rahal Letterman Lanigan Racing at Portland.
The 23-year-old Estonian has been signed to contest the season’s last two rounds, with the finale at Laguna Seca next week. He will race the #30 car piloted by Jack Harvey before he split from the team ahead of last weekend’s round at the Gateway oval. Conor Daly replaced him for that event.
Vips tested for RLLR at Sebring last October, then again when he stood in for the injured Harvey at Barber Motorsports Park this March.
“I’m super happy to get the opportunity with RLLR and very thankful to Bobby [Rahal], Mike [Lanigan] and everyone at the team. I haven’t been driving all year so the anticipation for this opportunity has been immense but I’m really looking forward to starting again,” said Vips.
“We tested together at the end of 2022 in Sebring and it seemed like we just gelled. I got along with everyone and I really like the atmosphere at the team. Bobby’s also one to give second chances and I’m extremely grateful that he is giving me one and I really hope to bring a good result for him, Mike and the whole team.”
Vips raced in F2 from 2020 to 2022, competing part-time as a rookie with DAMS then spending two years with Hitech GP. He won twice in Baku en route to sixth in the 2021 standings
Last year he won once, and was infamously sacked as Red Bull Racing’s Formula 1 reserve driver after using a racial slur in a live stream. The incident made it “quite difficult” to land a job anywhere for 2023.
“I hope I can prove myself and most importantly get them into the winners circle, which is always my main mission. I feel ready for these races, I think the tracks suit my experience and driving style and the car as well,” Vips added.
“I’ve already integrated myself with the team this year, doing some work for them on the simulator so I already know the people and feel very comfortable with everyone which is a big benefit for me as well.
“There is not much you can do other than simulation and look at data so that’s what I’ve been doing [for Portland]. I’ve been making sure that I will be as ready as I can to race.
“I’ve only done two test days in the last 10 months so I haven’t done a lot of driving so that is definitely going to limit me but I’m doing absolutely everything I can to get as good of a result as possible.”
RLLR co-owner Bobby Rahal commented: “I’m very pleased for the team to enter Juri in the Portland and Laguna Seca races. Clearly, he was the lead Red Bull junior driver a few years ago and exhibited a lot of talent, which we saw during the two tests he ran with us so we’re looking forward to seeing what he can do on a race weekend.”