Spencer Pigot gave a glimpse of what he can do during his Verizon IndyCar Series rookie season in 2016. Team owner Ed Carpenter liked what he saw and is bringing back the 23-year-old Floridian to drive the No. 20 Chevrolet at all road- and street-course events this year.
Pigot, the 2015 Indy Lights presented by Cooper Tires champion and winner of more Mazda Road to Indy developmental series races than anyone (24), competed in 10 Verizon IndyCar Series races last season, split between Rahal Letterman Lanigan Racing and Ed Carpenter Racing. He drove in the season’s final seven road/street races for ECR, posting best finishes of seventh at Mid-Ohio Sports Car Course and ninth at Road America.
This year, Pigot will be behind the wheel of the No. 20 Chevy for the 11 road/street events on the calendar. Team owner Carpenter returns to pilot the car in the six oval races.
“I'm very excited to be staying with Ed Carpenter Racing for the 2017 season,” Pigot said. “It's a great feeling to know that I have a secure ride for all of the road- and street-course races so we can start preparing for the season now. I can't thank everyone at ECR, P1 Management and Rising Star Racing enough for their help getting this deal done.”
Pigot used the $1 million Mazda scholarship he earned for winning the 2015 Indy Lights title to secure a three-race Verizon IndyCar Series ride last year with Rahal Letterman Lanigan that included the epic 100th Running of the Indianapolis 500 presented by PennGrade Motor Oil. He jumped into the ECR ride the week after Indy, for the Chevrolet Dual in Detroit doubleheader weekend – moving from Honda to Chevy engines and aero kits with the team switch. Pigot was running at the finish in nine of his 10 races – the lone exception when a mechanical issue ended his day early in the season finale at Sonoma Raceway.
“I learned a lot in my rookie year and I'm looking forward to the opportunity to build on that experience. I know I have the team around me to fight at the front and that's what we'll be trying to do in 2017,” said Pigot.
Team owner Carpenter is glad to have the continuity with Pigot returning.
“We are happy to have Spencer back,” Carpenter said. “It was a challenging situation for him to step into the team last year mid-season as a rookie. We believe that Spencer has the potential to be a contender in this sport and we will continue to focus on maximizing that potential.
“It is great to have some offseason left to allow us to continue that development before the season kicks off. We are anticipating a strong sophomore campaign from Spencer.”
Pigot spent five seasons in Mazda Road to Indy competition – also winning the 2014 Pro Mazda Championship presented by Cooper Tires and earning four Mazda scholarships along the way – before joining the Verizon IndyCar Series last year. He will join JR Hildebrand, previously announced to drive ECR’s No. 21 Chevrolet in all 17 races this season, at a private team test Feb. 7 at Sebring (Fla.) International Raceway.
Before that, Pigot will co-drive a Mazda Prototype in the 55th Rolex 24 at Daytona endurance sports-car race. The 2017 Verizon IndyCar Series season will open March 10-12 with the Firestone Grand Prix of St. Petersburg.