Juri Vips will remain with Rahal Letterman Lanigan Racing for the 2024 IndyCar season, although how many races he will run remains an open question.

Team co-owner Bobby Rahal confirmed the news on Monday, saying that RLL has exercised its option to keep Vips with the team next year after he finished 18th and 24th in his only two IndyCar races this past season.

The 23-year-old Estonian driver drove the team’s #30 entry for the final two rounds of the 2023 season, and there was speculation that he would be announced as driver of that entry for next year.

Pietro Fittipaldi was announced as the full season driver instead, but Vips may still compete in a few races as RLL still tries to put together all the pieces needed to field a fourth car.

That process is not coming along as quickly as Bobby Rahal would like, but he is still hopeful that he will be able to field the fourth car for a few races to get Vips more seat time next season.

“Yeah, we exercised our option with Juri,” confirmed Rahal. “As I said before I don’t know when it was, several months ago. We see Juri as a long-term play as well.

“We’d like to run a fourth car. We’re not making as much progress on that as we would like. That’s certainly a hope. Maybe it’s only a selected number of races, maybe one, maybe it’s none. We’re not quite sure.

“There’s one thing we did know, is we wanted to keep Juri in our family. He did a great job for us in Portland and fab job in Laguna. It’s a shame chaos caught him at the start.

“All in all, very impressed with Juri. We certainly wanted to keep him within our organization.

“Certainly we’re not going to rush right into a fourth car for the reasons you mentioned. You’ve got to be prepared to do that, to do it correctly, to do it so that fourth car actually contributes going forward.

“I think we certainly saw some improvements last year. Obviously our poor performance in Indianapolis still is by far outweighing every other thing we did last year. I think we’re making progress on it already.

“The first thing, you’re right, we’ve got three [cars], and we’ve got three strong drivers in those cars. The first goal is to have them consistently run up front. We do that before we do anything else.

There could be four RLL cars on the grid for portions of next season. Photo: Kevin Dejewski

“But I do like the drivers that we have in terms of the entire lineup with Juri, obviously with Pietro [Fittipaldi], Graham [Rahal] and Christian [Lundgaard]. I think that’s a pretty strong driver lineup.

“Ganassi is running five cars. Andretti has run four cars. So people are doing it. We just have to make sure we’re in the position to do it and do it well.”

RLL fielded four cars for the first time for the 2023 Indy 500, bringing in Katherine Legge to drive the #44 entry.

Rahal said at the time that his team would only expand to four cars if it made sense to do so, and was adamant that the additional car did not play into the team’s poor performance at the historic race.

Even if he does not get much seat time next year, Vips will be working with the team to help them get a leg up on the competition as the series races with hybrid components for the first time.

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