Dale Coyne Racing is to pair Britain's Mike Conway alongside his compatriot Justin Wilson for this weekend's Detroit double-header at Belle Isle, the team announced on Wednesday.
The team had been hoping to add Wilson's brother Stefan to their line-up, but when the necessary financial deals didn't come together Dale Coyne opted instead to extend Ana Beatriz' time with the team in the interim. Originally only planned to race in her native Brazil and at Indianapolis, Beatriz has helmed the #18 car since the star of the season.
But this weekend at Detroit, for the first IZOD IndyCar Series doubleheader of the 2013 season, the team has opted to select a proven street and road course racer in Conway, who won the 2011 Long Beach event while driving with Andretti Autosport.
“First, I want to say what a great job Bia has done in the #18 car,” said Coyne said. "I think it was beneficial to run concurrent races with Bia where she could truly show her competitiveness as she did in Brazil and Indy.
"We are also excited to have a street course racer like Mike Conway join our efforts," he continued. "Mike has shown over the years how competitive he can be on all types of circuits and we look forward to having our all-English team go at it at Belle Isle.”
Conway quit his full time ride with AJ Foyt Racing in 2012 after concluding that he was no longer comfortable racing on oval circuits, which meant that he dropped out of the season finale at Auto Club Speedway, Fontana.
He made a one-off return to the series in April when Rahal Letterman Lanigan Racing offered him a chance to recapture former glories at Long Beach, but unfortunately electrical issues forced him to retire from the race after he'd qualified in fifth place on the grid.
“I am very thankful for this opportunity with Dale and look forward to having a race weekend where I will have two chances to race with my fellow competitors,” said the 29-year-old from Kent. "I miss being in the car full time, and teaming with Justin again will be quite exciting for me."
Conway and Wilson were previously paired at Dreyer and Reinbold Racing in 2010. Wilson is a previous winner at the 2.3-mile, 13-turn Belle Isle circuit, having won in 2008. Conway started 15th and finished ninth at Belle Isle last year while still competing with AJ Foyt Racing.