By: Tanner Watkins
January 13, 2020 | 7:40 AM
Heading into their sophomore season as a part-time entry in the NTT IndyCar Series, DragonSpeed has confirmed Ben Hanley as their driver for the season-opening Firestone Grand Prix of St. Petersburg.
Hanley, who drove for DragonSpeed in three IndyCar events last year, will get the start for the March 15 street course race. In 2019, Hanley finished 18th after qualifying 12th at St. Petersburg, and followed that up with a finish of 21st at Barber Motorsports Park in April.
And while a 32nd place finish at the “500” last May brought some disappointment for the upstart team – a driveshaft issue sidelined the No. 81 car after 54 laps – they comfortably qualified for the race while more established teams such as McLaren Racing and Carlin missed the show.
DragonSpeed had already confirmed Hanley for the full IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship in the LMP2 category (as well as the Rolex 24 at Daytona) back in November, and the team is keen on maintaining the continuity that brought them modest success in their first year on the IndyCar circuit.
@IndyCar NEWS: We are pleased to announce that @benhanley85 will be piloting our #81 @TeamChevy @FirestoneRacing @DallaraGroup @IndyCar during the off season development phase and at the @GPSTPETE race weekend. Looking forward to the continuity from 2019. #oneteamonedream pic.twitter.com/17ccYpbj24— DragonSpeed (@DragonSpeedLLC) January 13, 2020
Just a few weeks ago, DragonSpeed announced that they would expand their IndyCar program to six races in 2020. Their slate includes St. Pete, as well as the historic Acura Grand Prix of Long Beach in April before heading to Indianapolis for the 500 Mile Race in May.
Following that, the group will travel to Texas Motor Speedway in June, Mid-Ohio Sports Car Course in August, and the season finale at WeatherTech Raceway Laguna Seca in September.
At this time, DragonSpeed has not confirmed its driver for the five remaining IndyCar events on their 2020 plate. A sponsorship announcement for the team is expected in the coming weeks.
Header image by Joe Skibinski/INDYCAR.