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Juri Vips joins Rahal Letterman Lanigan Racing for final 2 IndyCar races

Juri Vips of Estonia poses for a photo during previews ahead of Round 14: Yas Island of the Formula 2 Championship at Yas Marina Circuit on Nov. 17, 2022, in Abu Dhabi, United Arab Emirates. (Joe Portlock-Formula 1/Formula Motorsport Limited via Getty Images)

ZIONSVILLE, Ind. (WISH) — Another new driver will be behind the wheel of Rahal Letterman Lanigan Racing’s No. 30 car.

Estonian driver Juri Vips will make his IndyCar debut at the Grand Prix of Portland, Oregon, on Labor Day weekend.

Vips becomes the third driver to race in the No. 30 this season. Most recently, Noblesville-native Conor Daly piloted the RLL car. Daly finished 16th after starting 11th in the Bommarito Automotive Group 500 at the World Wide Technology Raceway just outside St. Louis.

“I’m very pleased for the team to enter Juri in the Portland and Laguna Seca races,” RLL’s co-owner Bobby Rahal said in a news release. “Clearly, he was the lead Red Bull Junior driver a few years ago and exhibited a lot of talent, which we saw during the two tests he ran with us so we’re looking forward to seeing what he can do on a race weekend.”

Vips is excited to race in his first IndyCar event.

“I’m super happy to get the opportunity with Rahal Letterman Lanigan (RLL) Racing and very thankful to Bobby, Mike and everyone at the team,” Vips said in the release. “I haven’t been driving all year so the anticipation for this opportunity has been immense but I’m really looking forward to starting again.”

Vips has driven in an Indy car twice in the last year — the first time coming last October in a test for Rahal Letterman Lanigan on Sebring International Raceway’s track. Most recently, Vips drove at Barber Motorsports Park in Birmingham, Alabama, in March.

The team says he’s been practicing with static simulator testing for RLL throughout the season.

“It seemed like we just gelled,” Vips said of his time at Sebring. “I got along with everyone and I really like the atmosphere at the team. Bobby’s also one to give second chances and I’m extremely grateful that he is giving me one and I really hope to bring a good result for him, Mike and the whole team.”

Vips is ready to make an immediate impact for the team starting this weekend.

“I hope I can prove myself and most importantly get them into the Winners Circle, which is always my main mission. I feel ready for these races, I think the tracks suit my experience and driving style and the car as well. I’ve already integrated myself with the team this year, doing some work for them on the simulator so I already know the people and feel very comfortable with everyone which is a big benefit for me as well.”

The Estonian might be technically new to IndyCar, but he’s familiar with the young guns already on the series.

“Marcus Armstrong was my teammate twice actually — in 2017 and in 2022. He’s a good guy that I know really well,” Vips said. “I also raced against Christian (Lundgaard) in 2019 and 2021, Alex Palou in 2018 and a few races with Callum Ilott in 2020. I look forward to racing them again.”

Rahal Letteman Lanigan’s No. 30 car was driven by British driver Jack Harvey for the majority of the season before being replaced before Sunday’s race on Gateway’s short oval. Harvey never cracked the top-10 — his best finish being 13th at the Acura Grand Prix of Long Beach in April.

Vips’ IndyCar debut will be 3 p.m. Sept. 3 Eastern time in Portland.