While discussions continue about who will drive for Schmidt Peterson Motorsports full-time in 2018, another question has been answered by the organization on Tuesday. Tristan Gommendy has signed a one-race deal with SPM for the 102nd Running of the Indianapolis 500 next May.
“Competing in the Indianapolis 500 is a dream come true; it was a career goal when I was racing in Champ Car,” noted Gommendy. “Even though I grew up driving open-wheel cars, everything is completely new when you get to Indy. The Speedway and this race demand a lot of respect. Racing at 230 mph with four 90° turns is far from the European motorsport culture. I know I’ll have to work very hard to get ready for next May.
“The first steps, including my first simulator test, went well, but much more work needs to be done. Everything so far has shown me that this partnership between Calmels Sport and SPM is extraordinary. In the United States, everything is possible … provided you earn your spot. It’s up to us to write a beautiful French story in Indiana!”
The Frechmen will pilot the No. 77 Honda with support from Didier Calmels, owner of Calmels Spor. His first oval Verizon IndyCar Series test scheduled for October ahead of the rookie orientation program.
Schmidt Peterson Motorsports co-owner Sam Schmidt commented, “Ric and I are pleased to announce this partnership with Didier Calmels. Compared to him, we are relative newcomers to team ownership but have similar backgrounds of success in the business world. We look forward to learning a tremendous amount from Didier regarding the business of racing and his innovative approaches which have resulted in great success in European formulas. In addition, SPM has already shown results with French drivers such as Pagenaud and Vautier, so we look forward to having the talented and experienced Tristan Gommendy join our team for 2018. He has a similar background to Simon, so we have very high expectations.”
The 38-year-old currently competes in the FIA World Endurance Championship, placing third overall in the 24 Hours of Le Mans. He has previous experience in Champ Car, GP2, World Series by Renault, Formula Renault, and French F3.
The partnership includes support from French television networks throughout the month of May, including a 52-minute documentary about the creation of Calmels Sport IndyCar program.
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