RLL sign ex-Red Bull junior and F2 race-winner Vips for last two IndyCar races


Posted on

| Written by

Juri Vips will return to racing in IndyCar this weekend, over a year since he lost his role as Red Bull’s reserve driver last year for using a racial slur.

Rahal Letterman Lanigan Racing has signed the 23-year-old Estonian for the last two rounds of the season at Portland and Laguna Seca. Vips will drive the team’s number 30 car over the next two weekends.

Jack Harvey started the season in that entry, but finished no higher than 13th over the first 14 races of the year. He and RLLR parted ways before last weekend’s round at Gateway, and Conor Daly was called up to replace him for that race.

Vips thanked team co-owners Bobby Rahal and Mike Lanigan for the opportunity. “I’m super happy to get the opportunity with RLLR and very thankful to Bobby, Mike and everyone at the team,” he said.

“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.”

He first tested for the team as it became clear he would not return to F2 this year. “We tested together at the end of 2022 in Sebring and it seemed like we just gelled,” said Vips. “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.”

Advert | Become a RaceFans supporter and go ad-free

Vips said his target is to help the team secure its places among the top 22 full-time cars which receive lucrative Winners Circle payments.

“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.”

Both of Vips’ IndyCar tests have been with RLL. The first was at Sebring last October, the second at Barber Motorports Park this March where he stood in for Harvey while he was injured.

Vips had a stellar junior career, winning the 2017 ADAC [German] Formula 4 title, coming fourth in two different Formula 3 series, finishing second in the Macau Grand Prix and then winning three races across two-and-a-half seasons in Formula 2.

He was backed by or a part of Red Bull from late 2018 through to last summer. He drove for the team in the first practice session for the Spanish Grand Prix in May last year.

However a month later the team parted ways with Vips after he used a racial slur while live-streaming a Call of Duty game with fellow Red Bull junior Liam Lawson. That incident did not cost Vips his F2 seat, but he has been out of the cockpit since last season ended, aside from his IndyCar tests.

Advert | Become a RaceFans supporter and go ad-free


Browse all IndyCar articles

Author information

Ida Wood
Often found in junior single-seater paddocks around Europe doing journalism and television commentary, or dabbling in teaching photography back in the UK. Currently based...

Got a potential story, tip or enquiry? Find out more about RaceFans and contact us here.

4 comments on “RLL sign ex-Red Bull junior and F2 race-winner Vips for last two IndyCar races”

  1. At least some competitive driving for him after a little while.

  2. Great news! I like when drivers get sacked for poor performances making way for talent.

  3. Good for him.

  4. One shouldn’t be banished for saying something stupid. Plus he was just joking around. Congrats Juri! Do well, keep the seat, and you’ll have a chance to win the biggest race in the world.

Comments are closed.