Three-time Indianapolis 500 winner and four-time IndyCar champion Dario Franchitti will return to the cockpit this weekend at Gateway to drive Honda’s two-seat IndyCar at the start of the race.
Franchitti was forced to end his 17-season Indycar career at least a year before he had intended after a huge accident at Houston in September 2013 left him with severe concussion and an ankle injury.
Since then, the Scot has demonstrated and occasionally raced historic cars, but this will be his first time piloting Honda’s traditional ‘Fastest Seat in Sports’ two-seat IndyCar.
That programme is now in its 11th year and at Indianapolis Motor Speedway last week one of its regular drivers, Mario Andretti, took son Michael around before the Indy 500.
Franchitti will lead the pack around the 1.25-mile World Wide Technology Raceway for Sunday’s second race.
His passenger will be Kerry Robinson, former MLB outfielder for the St. Louis Cardinals for whom he is now a talent scout.
“I’m excited to get back behind the wheel of an Indycar, especially one with Honda power, although I certainly didn’t expect to have a passenger,” said Franchitti, who scored all of his 31 Indycar wins with Honda power.
“It will be fun to return to the track here at St. Louis, since I believe this is the place where I led an Indycar race for the first time, back in 1997.”
Since his retirement in 2013, Franchitti has continued working with Chip Ganassi Racing, for whom he scored two of his three Indy wins and three of his four IndyCar titles.
His work has primarily been as a driver coach and adviser, in which capacity he currently helps Felix Rosenqvist and Marcus Ericsson.
Franchitti made a racing comeback at the Goodwood Revival event last September, taking sixth place in an AC Cobra in the RAC TT celebration race and eighth in the Kinrara Trophy, driving a Ferrari 250 GT SWB.
He also competed in the Race of Remembrance endurance contest in a Mazda MX-5 at Anglesey in November.
Gallery: $4.29m Ferrari shatters online world record (Classic & Sports Car)