Hildebrand to race Foyt tribute car in Indy 500

J.R. Hildebrand will drive a fourth AJ Foyt Racing entry in the Indianapolis 500 with a paint scheme echoing that on A.J. Foyt’s first Indy winning car, 60 years ago.

Hildebrand to race Foyt tribute car in Indy 500

The car, which will be sponsored by long term Foyt partner ABC Supply, will also carry the #1 that Foyt’s Bowes Seal Fast Trevis-Offenhauser ran when he defeated Eddie Sachs at the Speedway in May 1961.

Foyt would win Indy again in 1964 – the last Indy victory for a front-engined roadster – 1967 and 1977, to become the first of only three drivers to win the Memorial Day Weekend classic four times.

“ABC Supply is excited for the opportunity to support AJ Foyt Racing by sponsoring the #1 car for the Indy 500,” said Mike Jost, COO of ABC Supply. “A.J. is a living legend and part of the ABC family, and our 15,000 associates are honoured to help celebrate the 60th anniversary of his first of four Indy 500 wins as a driver.”

The #1 belongs to Chip Ganassi Racing and Scott Dixon as the reigning champion but as a courtesy Ganassi released the number to Foyt’s team for the Indy 500. Dixon has stuck with #9 throughout his 20 years with Ganassi, despite having the right to claim #1 in his six post-championship seasons.

"This livery is more than just a throwback for us,” revealed AJ Foyt Racing team president Larry Foyt. “It is special to our team and family, and its imagery is something I have grown up seeing my whole life.

"It is wonderful that our long term friends and partner ABC Supply will be the primary sponsor on this tribute to one of my Dad’s great accomplishments.

"Being able to sign a quality driver like J.R. will add another source of valuable feedback to our team which is especially important given the talent-packed Indy 500 entry list this year."

AJ Foyt, Trevis-Offy

AJ Foyt, Trevis-Offy

Photo by: A.J. Foyt Racing

Hildebrand, the 2009 Indy Lights champion, came achingly close to winning the 2011 Indy 500 as a rookie, and since then has amassed nine more Indy starts, the last three as one-offs with Dreyer & Reinbold Racing.

“This is definitely a drive to be excited about, and for multiple reasons,” said the 33-year-old Californian, who will join the team’s full-time drivers Sebastien Bourdais and Dalton Kellett, as well as another part-timer, Charlie Kimball. “Getting the chance to drive for A.J. and Larry is something I'm looking forward to no matter what, but with ABC honouring the 60th anniversary of A.J.'s first 500 win that makes it extra special.

“I'll be back in a Chevy which I've spent almost my entire IndyCar career driving, gain the benefit of three team-mates, and get the chance to reunite, in a way, with an engineer I've had success with before in Justin Taylor, who's race engineering Seb this year.

“We all know that the 500 is only getting more competitive so we'll all have to bring our best to the table, but that, to me, is what makes this race so worthwhile in the first place. I can't wait to get rolling."

Hildebrand will wear a solid white race suit, the same colour Foyt wore.

"The fact that I'll be running a livery honouring A.J.'s first win 60 years ago is just an incredible thing to be a part of,” continued Hildebrand. “I've tried to bring a little history into at least some element of my 500 gigs over the last few years. In '18 we ran a "66" that was designed based on the car Jim Clark ran his lone NASCAR start with, in '19 we ran Dan Gurney's "48", and last year we designed the "67" on our car from the numbers that were on Joe Leonard and Graham Hill's 1968 turbine cars.

"But this definitely takes it to a whole new level, and driving for the man himself! The history of the sport is such an important part of what gives it meaning, and I'll look to feed off of that energy this May."

JR Hildebrand, AJ Foyt Racing-Chevrolet

JR Hildebrand, AJ Foyt Racing-Chevrolet

Photo by: A.J. Foyt Racing

The ABC Supply crew will also wear kit modelled after Foyt’s 1961 crew which was headed by legendary chief mechanic George Bignotti who would amass seven Indy 500 wins as crew chief. With collars trimmed in black and featuring a black pocket, the crew shirts and firesuits will echo the Bignotti crew’s teamwear, although the crew will wear black trousers instead of white.

A.J. Foyt himself commented: "At my age, I don’t get too excited anymore but I’m thrilled to see this car painted like my ’61 car. That win was so special because it was my dream just to be good enough to make the race. To win it three years later, well, I was thrilled to death about it. They were all sweet victories but to win that first one after where I came from, it was unbelievable."

JR Hildebrand, AJ Foyt Racing-Chevrolet

JR Hildebrand, AJ Foyt Racing-Chevrolet

Photo by: A.J. Foyt Racing

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