Indianapolis 500: Pippa Mann seals 2018 seat with Dale Coyne Racing

Pippa Mann will contest the Indianapolis 500 for a seventh time in 2018, making her sixth appearance in the race with Dale Coyne Racing

Mann's appearance at the Indy 500 has been boosted by a new deal with primary sponsor Donate Life Indiana.

It will also be the fourth entry in the race for DCR, with regular driver Sebastien Bourdais joined by part-time entry Pietro Fittipaldi and Conor Daly getting a one-off return.

Mann managed her best finish at the Indy 500 of 17th last year, and told Autosport that she is aiming for an "ideal" top 10 finish in 2018.

"I'm very grateful to have the support of Gail, Dale and Dale Coyne Racing and that's not a soundbite," said Mann, who made her Indianapolis 500 debut with Conquest in 2011.

"Without them, this story really would have ended after one Indianapolis 500 and I would never have gotten to come back.

"It's very unique for someone in my position as a one-off entry to have a team that is effectively your home, year after year, welcome you back.

"The biggest thing coming into the Indy 500, and I say this to everyone who asks about my goals, is to have a realistic expectation.

"I feel our team and the way we band together means we can have a go at the top 15 and ideally the top 10.

"For us, that's the goal and an expectation. If we do our job right and have some luck, it could come our way.

"Ridge [race engineer Rob Ridgely] and I work well together, we enjoy it, we're both here because we want to crack the top 15 and even the top 10."

Mann added that the new universal aerokit should make a one-off appearance easier compared to the previous era's manufacturer designs.

"The last car was very difficult to drive, and it snapped on the edge with minimal warning," she said.

"So, for someone who didn't get to drive the car all that often, having the car moving without any warning made it a difficult car to step into and do a good job.

"The feedback we get from other drivers who have driven this car is yes, it moves around a lot more, but it's giving you a lot more information as a driver."

Dale Coyne said he was excited to welcome Mann back into the fold.

"We're very happy to welcome Donate Life Indiana to the team through their partnership with Pippa," he said.

"It will certainly be different to see her in new colours this May, but it's also very exciting.

"We're looking forward to working with Pippa and Donate Life Indiana with their mission of educating new drivers about the importance of donor registration.

"We also look forward to having Pippa back in the #63 car this May."

Mann will drive the car for the first time on May 15 during practice for the Indy 500.

Indy 500 grid so far

Penske: Josef Newgarden, Simon Pagenaud, Will Power, Helio Castroneves
Chip Ganassi Racing: Scott Dixon, Ed Jones
Rahal Letterman Lanigan Racing: Graham Rahal, Takuma Sato
Andretti Autosport: Alexander Rossi, Ryan Hunter-Reay, Marco Andretti, Zach Veach, Stefan Wilson, Carlos Munoz
Schmidt Peterson Motorsports: James Hinchcliffe, Robert Wickens, Jack Harvey (Michael Shank Racing partnership)
Dale Coyne Racing: Sebastien Bourdais, Pietro Fittipaldi, Conor Daly, Pippa Mann
Ed Carpenter Racing: Spencer Pigot, Ed Carpenter, Danica Patrick
AJ Foyt Racing: Tony Kanaan, Matheus Leist
Carlin: Max Chilton, Charlie Kimball
Harding Racing: Gabby Chaves
Juncos Racing: Kyle Kaiser
Scuderia Corsa/RLLR: Oriol Servia
Dreyer & Reinbold Racing: Sage Karam, JR Hildebrand*

* not yet announced

Previous article Seven-time Indycar champion AJ Foyt survives second killer bee attack
Next article Penske's Helio Castroneves begins IndyCar return in Barber test