Dale Coyne Racing announced Wednesday that British driver James Jakes will drive its No. 18 Dallara-Honda for the IZOD IndyCar Series season. Acorn Stairlifts, a staircase chair lift manufacturer that has been a longtime backer of Jakes, will be the car's primary sponsor. The GP2 veteran made his debut with the team at last week's Open Test at Barber Motorsports Park.
“We are very pleased that after a successful first outing in the 700-horsepower Dallara, James will be joining us for the entire season in 2011,” said team owner Dale Coyne. “With the program coming together late, his first test at a track he had never seen, in a car he had never driven with the entire field at his heels, showed his talents well.”
Jakes was the only driver of the 24 on hand at Barber never to have turned a lap on the Alabama road course but still managed to finish 19th in the final practice session.
“I approached the test cautiously and just wanted to learn as there were so many new things to absorb,” said Jakes. “I am very pleased with the test and all that the IZOD IndyCar Series has to offer. I am excited for this opportunity with Dale Coyne and we look forward to a formative year in 2011.”
The 23-year-old West Yorkshire native started his racing career in 2002 in the British T-Cars, finishing second in the championship the following year. He went on to Formula Renault, F3 and GP2 and GP3.