The 2018 Verizon IndyCar Series is the 23rd season of the Verizon IndyCar Series and the 97th official championship season of American open wheel racing. The premier event is the 102nd Indianapolis 500, with Takuma Sato entering as the defending Indianapolis 500 winner. Josef Newgarden entered the season as the defending National Champion.
It is the final season for Verizon Communications as the series sponsor as well as being the final season that the series will be broadcast by both ABC and NBC Sports. A new series sponsor will be introduced and NBC will be the sole broadcaster for the series beginning in the 2019 season.
- On October 20, 2017, Verizon Communications announced that it would exit its title sponsorship deal for the series after the 2018 season. This will not affect its vehicle sponsorship with Team Penske.
- PFC became the IndyCar Series' brake caliper supplier beginning in the 2018 season.
- Kyle Novak was confirmed as Race Director on January 5, replacing Brian Barnhart, who left to become president of Harding Racing. The three-man stewarding panel of Dan Davis, Arie Luyendyk, and Max Papis, introduced when Barnhart was first named Race Director, will remain intact.
- On March 21, 2018, NBC Sports (which serves as the existing cable rightsholder of the series through NBCSN) announced that it would become the sole television rightsholder of the IndyCar Series from 2019 through 2021, replacing the previous split between ABC and NBCSN. Eight races per-season will air on NBC, including the Indianapolis 500.
- All IndyCar Series machines will feature an all-new universal bodywork, inspired by CART's 1990s and 2000s bodywork, but still keep the Dallara DW12 chassis base. This new chassis configuration is dubbed the IR18, and will be used until at least 2022. For the first time since the 1996 Indy Racing League and 2007 Champ Car seasons respectively, cars will have a roll hoop without an airbox.
- All IndyCar Series entrants will begin utilizing F1-style LCD steering wheel display dashes, a new Cosworth CCW Mk2 steering wheel with a configurable display unit, and new electronic components. The current Cosworth-Pi Research Sigma Wheel Display dash had been used since the 2000 season will be retired permanently, but several teams will opt to keep the old Cosworth Sigma Wheel Display dash for one more season due to cost reasons.
- Due to the reduced amount of downforce produced by the 2018 spec aerokits, Firestone introduced new rain tires to improve grip in wet conditions in road/street races.
- In the next step to increase driver safety through cockpit protection, IndyCar announced that Scott Dixon would test a windscreen, a possible alternative to the 'halo' device used by Formula One, at ISM Raceway on February 8.
The following teams and drivers are confirmed to compete in the 2018 IndyCar Series season. All teams use a spec Dallara IR18 chassis and Firestone tires.
|A. J. Foyt Enterprises
|| Matheus Leist R
|| Tony Kanaan
|Foyt with Byrd / Hollinger / Belardi
|| James Davison
|| Stefan Wilson R [N 1]
|| Zach Veach R
|| Alexander Rossi
|| Ryan Hunter-Reay
|| Carlos Muñoz
|Andretti Herta Autosport with Curb-Agajanian
|| Marco Andretti
|| Charlie Kimball
|| Max Chilton
|Chip Ganassi Racing
|| Scott Dixon
|| Ed Jones
|Dale Coyne Racing
|| Zachary Claman DeMelo R
||1, 3–6, 9–12
| Pietro Fittipaldi R
| Santino Ferrucci R
|| Pippa Mann
|Dale Coyne Racing dba Thom Burns Racing
|| Conor Daly
|Dale Coyne Racing with Vasser-Sullivan
|| Sébastien Bourdais
|Dreyer & Reinbold Racing
|| Sage Karam
|| J. R. Hildebrand
|Ed Carpenter Racing
|| Danica Patrick
|| Jordan King R
||1, 3–5, 7–8, 10, 12–13, 16–17
| Ed Carpenter
||2, 6, 9, 11, 14–15
|| Spencer Pigot
|| Gabby Chaves
| Conor Daly
|| René Binder R
||1, 4, 7–8, 12–13
| Kyle Kaiser R
| Alfonso Celis Jr. R
|Michael Shank Racing with Schmidt Peterson
|| Jack Harvey R
|Meyer Shank Racing with Schmidt Peterson
||3, 6, 13, 16–17
|Rahal Letterman Lanigan Racing
|| Graham Rahal
|| Takuma Sato
|Schmidt Peterson Motorsports
|| James Hinchcliffe
|| Robert Wickens R
|SPM / AFS Racing
|| Jay Howard
|Scuderia Corsa with RLL
|| Oriol Servià
|| Josef Newgarden
|| Hélio Castroneves
|| Will Power
|| Simon Pagenaud
Chip Ganassi Racing announced that the team will scale down to a two-car team for the first time since 2010, with Scott Dixon remaining at the No. 9 car. CGR announced on October 25, 2017 that 2017 IndyCar Series Rookie of the Year Ed Jones would drive the No. 10 car in 2018, replacing Tony Kanaan.
Team Penske will downsize to three cars, due to Hélio Castroneves moving to Team Penske's WeatherTech SportsCar Championship team from the 2018 season onwards. However, Castroneves will return for the 2018 Indianapolis 500 with Team Penske for a one-off appearance.
Michael Shank Racing will compete in at least six races in the 2018 season with driver Jack Harvey, with a technical partnership with Schmidt Peterson Motorsports. The team was renamed Meyer Shank Racing on April 6th, 2018 after Sirius XM CEO Jim Meyer joined as a team co-owner.
Carlin will enter the series with two full-time Chevrolet-powered entries for the 2018 season, running ex-Chip Ganassi Racing drivers Max Chilton and Charlie Kimball.
Harding Racing confirmed a full-time schedule with Gabby Chaves after running part-time in 2017. Brian Barnhart was named President of the team on November 29, leaving his post as President of Race Operations and Race Director of IndyCar. Following the Road America round, Barnhart confirmed rumours that they wish to expand to fielding two cars as early as the latter part of the 2018 season, specifically naming Sonoma. He further confirmed the team was in talks with several drivers including current Indy Lights drivers.
Lazier Partners Racing will not enter the Indianapolis 500 for the first time since 2012 due to crash damage incurred at the 2017 Indianapolis 500 by Buddy Lazier to their only car.
After winning the 2017 Indy Lights championship, Kyle Kaiser will participate in at least four IndyCar events in 2018 with Juncos Racing, including the Indianapolis 500 and IndyCar Grand Prix. On January 5, 2018, Juncos announced Formula V8 3.5 driver René Binder would contest the races in St. Petersburg, Barber, Mid-Ohio, and Toronto, with an entry at Detroit being confirmed later.
After competing at Barber for Ed Carpenter Racing as a replacement for J. R. Hildebrand and at the Indianapolis 500 for A. J. Foyt Enterprises in 2017, Zach Veach will make his full-season début with Andretti Autosport, replacing Takuma Sato.
After competing in road and street courses only for Ed Carpenter Racing in 2017, Spencer Pigot will make his full-season début with the team, replacing J. R. Hildebrand in the No. 21 car. Former Formula 2 driver Jordan King will drive the No. 20 on road and street courses.
2017 Indianapolis 500 winner Takuma Sato left Andretti Autosport after only one season with the team, and will return to Rahal Letterman Lanigan Racing for the 2018 season.
Stefan Wilson joins Andretti Autosport to return to the Indianapolis 500 for the first time since 2016.
After spending four seasons with Chip Ganassi Racing, Tony Kanaan will switch to A. J. Foyt Enterprises for the 2018 season.
After six seasons in the German Deutsche Tourenwagen Masters, Robert Wickens will make the switch to IndyCar to drive the No. 6 for Schmidt Peterson Motorsports, replacing Mikhail Aleshin. Wickens previously replaced Aleshin in the first practice session at Road America in 2017, but did not get to compete in the race.
On November 16, 2017, A. J. Foyt Enterprises announced that Brazilian Indy Lights driver Matheus Leist would drive the No. 4 car in 2018, replacing Conor Daly. Leist will become the youngest IndyCar Series rookie since Marco Andretti in 2006.
After six seasons with Stewart-Haas Racing in NASCAR, Danica Patrick announced intentions to return to the Indianapolis 500 for the first time since 2011. The 2018 Indianapolis 500 will be the last race of Patrick's professional career. She will run a third entry for Ed Carpenter Racing, carrying sponsorship from former long-time partner GoDaddy.
After spending one season with A. J. Foyt Enterprises, Carlos Muñoz rejoins Andretti Autosport for the Indianapolis 500.
On February 6, 2018, 2017 World Series Formula V8 3.5 champion Pietro Fittipaldi was announced to drive the #19 for Dale Coyne Racing in 7 races, including the 2018 Indianapolis 500. The #19 will be driven by Zachary Claman DeMelo, who partook in the 2017 Indy Lights season with Carlin and the 2017 GoPro Grand Prix of Sonoma with Rahal Letterman Lanigan Racing, in the other 10 events. On May 4, Fittipaldi was injured in a crash while qualifying for the 2018 6 Hours of Spa-Francorchamps. DeMelo took over the #19 for both Indianapolis races and Texas, while Trident Formula 2 driver and Haas F1 test driver Santino Ferrucci was signed for the two Detroit races.
On March 1, 2018 it was confirmed that Nazareth, Pennsylvania native Sage Karam would be returning to race in the 102nd Indianapolis 500 for Dreyer & Reinbold Racing. This will be the 3rd straight and 4th total Indianapolis 500 between them. The primary sponsor for Karam’s car will be WIX Filters.
On March 6, 2018 it was announced Conor Daly would be driving in the 102nd Indianapolis 500. He would be racing for Thom Burns Racing with Air Force as the primary sponsor.
On March 20, 2018 it was announced Pippa Mann would drive a 4th car for Dale Coyne Racing at the Indianapolis 500, with sponsorship from Donate Life Indiana.
On April 12, Dreyer & Reinbold Racing announced that J. R. Hildebrand would drive for the team in their second entry into the Indianapolis 500.
On April 13, 2018 it was announced that Jonathan Byrd's Racing, Hollinger MotorSport, and Belardi Auto Racing would work in conjunction with A. J. Foyt Enterprises to field a car for James Davison for the Indianapolis 500.
On May 10, Juncos Racing announced that Alfonso Celis Jr. would make his IndyCar debut with the team at Road America.
On July 10, Harding Racing announced that Conor Daly would replace Gabby Chaves for round 12 in Toronto. The team also stated that they would experiment with their driver lineup for the remainder of the season in preparation for 2019. They want to test current top three Indy Lights drivers Colton Herta, Santiago Urrutia and Patricio O'Ward, the latter having already received a seat fitting with the team. Nevertheless Chaves is expected to return to the track in 2018 and remain under contract as the team's driver through 2019.
||Firestone Grand Prix of St. Petersburg
|| R Streets of St. Petersburg
||St. Petersburg, Florida
||Desert Diamond West Valley Phoenix Grand Prix
|| O ISM Raceway
||Toyota Grand Prix of Long Beach
|| R Streets of Long Beach
||Long Beach, California
||Honda Indy Grand Prix of Alabama
|| R Barber Motorsports Park
||IndyCar Grand Prix
|| R Indianapolis Motor Speedway Road Course
||102nd Indianapolis 500 Presented by PennGrade Motor Oil
|| O Indianapolis Motor Speedway
||Chevrolet Detroit Grand Prix Presented by Lear Corporation
|| R Belle Isle Park
||DXC Technology 600
|| O Texas Motor Speedway
||Fort Worth, Texas
||Kohler Grand Prix
|| R Road America
||Elkhart Lake, Wisconsin
||Iowa Corn 300
|| O Iowa Speedway
||Honda Indy Toronto
|| R Exhibition Place
||Honda Indy 200 at Mid-Ohio
|| R Mid-Ohio Sports Car Course
||ABC Supply 500
|| O Pocono Raceway
||Long Pond, Pennsylvania
||Bommarito Automotive Group 500 Presented by Valvoline
|| O Gateway Motorsports Park
||Grand Prix of Portland
|| R Portland International Raceway
||Grand Prix of Sonoma
|| R Sonoma Raceway
R Road Course/Street Circuit
Schedule changes and notes
- On September 26, 2017, Phoenix International Raceway's name was changed to ISM Raceway after a $100 million sponsorship deal with Ingenuity Sun Media, or ISM.
- Watkins Glen was dropped from the calendar, after only two races since its return in 2016. The round was replaced with a race at Portland International Raceway, after an 11-year absence since Portland's last Champ Car event.
- The Autódromo Hermanos Rodríguez in Mexico City was explored as a possible host of a race in August, but the deal was not put together and the race was not put on the calendar.
- The Honda Indy Grand Prix of Alabama was started on April 22nd and was stopped due to rain on lap 22. The race was resumed on Monday, April 23rd at 11:30 am.
||4th & 5th place
(Outside Top 10)
||Did not finish
||Did not qualify|
||Did Not Start|
(1 point; except Indy)
||Ran fastest race lap
||Led most race laps|
||Any driver who qualifies|
but does not start (DNS),
earns half the points
had they taken part.
no bonus point awarded
||Rookie of the Year
- The Indianapolis 500 and Sonoma rounds award double points.
- At all races except the Indy 500, the number 1 qualifier earns one (1) point. At double header races, the fastest qualifier of each qualifying group earns one championship point.
- Entrant-initiated engine change-outs before the engines reach their required distance run will result in the loss of ten (-10) points.
- NOTE: The distance run will be based on the total distance raced by that entrant with the engine in question, regardless of driver.
- Ties are broken by number of wins, followed by number of 2nds, 3rds, etc., then by number of pole positions, followed by number of times qualified 2nd, etc.
- All manufacturer points (including qualifying points, race finish points, and race win bonus points) can only be earned by full-season entrants.
- The top two finishing entrants from each manufacturer in each race score championship points for their respective manufacturer. The manufacturer that wins each race will be awarded five (5) additional points.
- At all races except the Indy 500, the manufacturer who qualifies on pole earns one (1) point. At the Indy 500, the fastest Saturday qualifier earns one (1) point, while the pole position winner on Sunday earns two (2) points.
- For every full-season engine used during the Indy 500 that reaches 2,000 total miles run, the manufacturer earns bonus points equal to that engine's finishing position in the race.
- Ties are broken by number of wins, followed by number of 2nds, 3rds, etc.
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