SPEEDWAY, Ind. — A fan-favorite in the NTT IndyCar Series might not have a full-time ride in 2020, but James Hinchcliffe has found a ride for this year’s Indianapolis 500.
Hinchcliffe joined Andretti Autosport owner Michael Andretti on Wednesday morning at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway to make the announcement.
“We talked a lot about it, the last couple years, as to how to bring James back to our team, because we consider this home for him,” Andretti said. Hinchcliffe drove for Andretti’s team from 2012-2014, after replacing Danica Patrick in the GoDaddy car.
From 2015-2019, Hinchcliffe drove for Schmidt Peterson Motorsports, now known as Arrow McLaren SP. The team announced in October that they would not bring back Hinchcliffe in 2020, despite having one year remaining in his contract. Instead, Patricio O’Ward and rookie Oliver Askew will drive the two cars for Arrow McLaren.
Hinchcliffe has had an up-and-down career at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway. In 2015, he almost died in a crash while practicing for the Indy 500. He was impaled by a piece of the car and suffered life-threatening blood loss. However, he recovered and returned to IMS in 2016, and won the pole for the race. Two years later, in 2018, Hinchcliffe didn’t even make the race, when he failed to qualify on Bump Day. In 2019, he crashed again during qualifying, and barely made the race with a back-up car.
“Indianapolis is such a special place,” Hinchcliffe said. “Any driver just wants to win this race so badly, that it doesn’t matter how many times it kicks you down or how hard it kicks you when you’re down there. You’re going to get up and you’re going to fight again and you’re going to go after that ultimate prize.”
“The Mayor of Hinchtown” will pilot the No. 29 Honda with Genesys, a telecommunications company based in Indianapolis, as the main sponsor.
“There are so many great companies within Indianapolis,” Andretti said. “We’re lucky to have Genesys, and we’ve also done it with Ruoff and Gainbridge.”
Hinchcliffe believes teaming up with Andretti will give him the best chance at checking off the box and finally getting his face on the Borg-Warner Trophy.
“They come to Indy with a purpose and no matter how many cars they put on track, they make sure every single one of them has an equal shot at winning this race,” he said.
Hinchcliffe’s deal with Andretti Autosport is for three races this season. Along with the Indianapolis 500, he’ll also compete in the GMR Grand Prix at the IMS Road Course to start the month of May, and the race at Texas Motor Speedway in June.