INDIANAPOLIS – Zachary Claman De Melo will be returning behind the wheel of the No. 19 Paysafe car sooner than initially planned. The Canadian will be piloting the Dale Coyne Racing entry at this weekend’s INDYCAR Grand Prix, replacing the injured Pietro Fittipaldi.
Fittipaldi was originally scheduled to take part in his second Verizon IndyCar Series race at this weekend’s road course event at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway. However, the Brazilian driver has been sidelined due to leg injuries (broken left leg and right ankle) suffered in a qualifying crash at the Spa-Francorchamps circuit during the World Endurance Championship event on May 4.
Claman De Melo has competed in three races this season with Dale Coyne Racing. He was next scheduled to race with the team at the Detroit Grand Prix in June but will now be making his fifth IndyCar start filling in for Fittipaldi, who will be out of a race car for about eight weeks. Fittipaldi’s replacement(s) for the Indy 500 and Texas Motor Speedway event will be announced at a later time.
“I’m extremely excited to get to race at the INDYCAR Grand Prix this weekend aboard the #19 Paysafe car, but I’m sad that it’s under these circumstances. My thoughts are first and foremost with Pietro (Fittipaldi), you never want to see that happen to a competitor, much less a teammate,” shared Claman De Melo.
“Getting to race at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway is always special. I enjoyed racing there in Indy Lights and I can’t wait to now get a chance to drive there aboard an Indy car. It’s a fun track with some good passing opportunities which means it should be a good show for the fans. Hopefully we can turn our luck around and come out of the weekend with a good result.”
Claman De Melo has competed on the Indianapolis Motor Speedway 2.439-mile, 14-turn road course four times in the Indy Lights Series, registering a best finish of second last season.