By Aaron Bearden, Contributing Writer
With Juncos Racing intending to step up their participation in the Verizon IndyCar Series after a one-off run in the 101st Running of the Indianapolis 500 in 2017, the organization has named a second driver for the upcoming season.
The team announced Friday that Rene Binder will join them and drive the No. 32 Juncos Racing entry for a four-race effort in the 2018 INDYCAR season.
The Austrian driver will begin the year at St. Petersburg, Florida, with additional starts planned at Barber Motorsports Park, the streets of Toronto and Mid-Ohio Sports Car Course.
“I am happy to welcome Rene (Binder) to our team and we are thrilled to be a part of his North American debut,” Juncos Racing owner Ricardo Juncos said in a team release. “Rene has a successful background running in the World Series V8 and GP2, along with the testing he has done within Formula 1, and I know he will carry that momentum into the Verizon IndyCar Series this year.
“The timing is right for a talented driver like Rene to join, as everyone will be starting over with the new INDYCAR aero kits. I want to thank Rene for choosing Juncos Racing for his INDYCAR debut, along with his sponsors and family for this opportunity.”
Binder, 26, will make the transition to Indy cars after competing in GP2 (now Formula 2) and World Series Formula V8 in recent years. He raced in the latter series in 2017, capturing four wins and five podiums en-route to a fourth-place result in the championship standings.
“I am honored to be a part of the Verizon IndyCar Series for the 2018 season,” Binder said in a team release. “I have been a huge fan of INDYCAR and what the series has to offer to me as a driver. I had a hard decision to make this year on which path I would take in my career, and I am confident that I made the right decision.
“Right now, we have signed for four races, but I hope to add more to our schedule as the season progresses. I would like to thank my sponsors, family and Juncos Racing for giving me this opportunity.”
The announcement pairs Binder with 2017 Indy Lights champion Kyle Kaiser, who is slated to compete in both series races at Indianapolis Motor Speedway along with two additional starts to be determined at a later date.
Binder will get his first Indy car experience in a February test. The season-opening Firestone Grand Prix of St. Petersburg is scheduled for March 11.