Tomas Scheckter defied the experts to ink a deal for the Indianapolis 500 with Dale Coyne Racing, instead of the predicted Conquest Racing or Team 3G.

The South African will partner St Pete podium finisher Justin Wilson after agreeing terms to fill the cockpit of the #19 Dallara-Honda with backing from energy drinks brand Mona Vie.

"We are excited to have Tomas as part of our team," eponymous team owner Dale Coyne commented, "He has shown great promise and now, with Mona Vie sponsoring his car, we anticipate a strong showing at this weekend's race."

Scheckter maintained his run of appearances at the Brickyard by finally returning to the track during Friday's final practice session, immediately turning laps above 220mph as he hastened through preparations for the event's third qualifying day today [Saturday].

"I am very thankful to Mona Vie and its dedicated distributors for this opportunity," he admitted, "I am also grateful to Dale for giving me this opportunity, as well as the chance to work with Bill Pappas again. We are all really excited about our potential here at Indy."

Scheckter is no stranger to Indianapolis, and will attempt to make his eighth start by safely negotiating qualifying and, if necessary, Sunday's Bump Day. He has led the 500 several times, but has yet to win, with a best finish of fourth overall from 2003.