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

shares
comments

Related video

Ferrucci returns to IndyCar with Rahal for Indy 500

Previous article

Ferrucci returns to IndyCar with Rahal for Indy 500

Next article

VeeKay breaks finger in Indy 500 test crash

VeeKay breaks finger in Indy 500 test crash
Load comments
The F1 champion who became an Indy king in his second career Plus

The F1 champion who became an Indy king in his second career

Emerson Fittipaldi’s decision to go racing with his brother led to him falling out of F1, but he bloomed again on the IndyCar scene. NIGEL ROEBUCK considers a career of two halves

Formula 1
Jul 31, 2021
The lasting legacy of a fallen Indycar rookie Plus

The lasting legacy of a fallen Indycar rookie

Jeff Krosnoff was plucked out of obscurity to become a respected and highly popular professional in Japan, and then got his big break in Indycar for 1996. But a tragic accident at Toronto 25 years ago cut short a promising career and curtailed his regular team-mate Mauro Martini's passion for racing

IndyCar
Jul 14, 2021
The two key areas where Dixon needs to re-assert his authority Plus

The two key areas where Dixon needs to re-assert his authority

OPINION: Having been Chip Ganassi Racing's IndyCar focal point for the best part of a decade, Scott Dixon has been so far outgunned by new team-mate Alex Palou in 2021. After finishing behind the Spaniard at his traditional happy hunting ground at Mid-Ohio, Dixon has work to do to assume his traditional position in the team and the standings

IndyCar
Jul 6, 2021
The winners and losers of IndyCar 2021 so far Plus

The winners and losers of IndyCar 2021 so far

At the halfway point in the 2021 IndyCar Series season, we've had seven winners in eight races, spread between five teams – none of them Team Penske. In this unusual season, even by IndyCar standards, who’s excelling and who’s dragging their heels?

IndyCar
Jun 18, 2021
Castroneves: How I kept it under control to make Indy 500 history Plus

Castroneves: How I kept it under control to make Indy 500 history

Helio Castroneves’ overwhelming vivaciousness outside the cockpit belies a hardcore racer who knows how to plot his moves – and then recall it all. A day after his fourth Indy 500 win, he explained his tactics

IndyCar
Jun 2, 2021
How 'chess master' Castroneves cemented his Indy legend status Plus

How 'chess master' Castroneves cemented his Indy legend status

Helio Castroneves joined AJ Foyt, Al Unser and Rick Mears with the most Indianapolis 500 wins after edging past Alex Palou on the penultimate lap of a thrilling race that validated Michael Shank's faith in the veteran Brazilian - who is discovering that there is life after Penske after all

IndyCar
Jun 1, 2021
Indy 500 preview: Will experience or youth be victorious at the Brickyard? Plus

Indy 500 preview: Will experience or youth be victorious at the Brickyard?

A quarter of the drivers racing in the 105th edition of the Indianapolis 500 are former winners - but are they the favourites? The veteran drivers largely impressed in qualifying - but there's also a plethora of young guns looking to secure victory at IndyCar's flagship race...

IndyCar
May 27, 2021
What will it take to get American drivers in Formula 1? Plus

What will it take to get American drivers in Formula 1?

The FIA says it wants American drivers in Formula 1, but would it take an IndyCar driver to transfer or does an American need to join the European junior ladder system to get there?

Formula 1
May 19, 2021