James Hinchcliffe

James Hinchcliffe is returning the cockpit of an NTT INDYCAR SERIES car.

The popular Canadian, who has been moonlighting as pit reporter and analyst for NBC Sports coverage of the NTT INDYCAR SERIES, will race the No. 26 Gainbridge Honda with Andretti Autosport for the remaining three events on the 2020 NTT INDYCAR SERIES calendar beginning with the INDYCAR Harvest GP on Oct. 2.

This comes following an announcement Wednesday confirming that Zach Veach would not return to the 26 car for the remaining events.

“It’s always unfortunate to have to change drivers this far into a season, but we have to look at finishing the year the best we can for the 26 team and start evaluating and looking at options for 2021,” said Michael Andretti, Chairman & CEO, Andretti Autosport. “James has an existing relationship with our team that we’d love to build on and it makes the most sense for him to step in for these last three races. We are looking forward to seeing what he can do.” 

Hinchcliffe competed in three events – the Genesys 600 at Texas Motor Speedway, the GMR Grand Prix at Indianapolis Motor Speedway and the 104th Indianapolis 500 – this season with Andretti Autosport in the No. 29 Genesys Honda. He scored a season-best finish of seventh in the Indy 500.

“I know, probably better than most, what Zach is feeling right now, and I have to say that he has handled everything about as class act as you can,” Hinchcliffe said. “I’ve known Zach as a teammate, before that as a colleague and even before that as a friend, and he is a guy that I respect in every way. I know he is a fighter and will fight back to where he wants to be. 

“For me now, my focus is 100% on racing the Harvest GP and getting the best possible results for Gainbridge, for Honda, for Michael and for the team. I obviously haven’t been on a road course in a while, but at least the last time I was, it was here at IMS! Hopefully that puts us in a good position to go out there and have a strong weekend.”