J.R. Hildebrand

J.R. Hildebrand

Professional Race Car Driver


JR Hildebrand, hailed as the most talented young American driver in open-wheel racing, passed on an opportunity to attend the prestigious Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) to pursue a career in motorsports, and since graduating from high school as a National Merit Scholar, he’s skyrocketed up the open-wheel racing ladder; quickly moving from karts to the Cooper Tires Formula Ford 2000 championship, to a seventh-place finish in the Toyota Atlantic Championship and then to Firestone Indy Lights, where he captured his first career victory at Kansas Speedway in 2008 in his second ever start on an oval track. The following year he dominated in Indy Lights, capturing four victories and six poles en route to a decisive championship crown. The following year he made his IZOD IndyCar Series debut with Dreyer & Reinbold Racing, making his first start at Mid-Ohio and later at Infineon Raceway, within the shadows of his hometown, where he ran as high as fourth and set the fastest lap of the race.

With immense on-track talent and maturity well beyond his years, Hildebrand quickly rose to the top of Panther’s list of driver candidates at the end of the 2010 season. A two-day test in December of 2010 at the challenging Phoenix International Raceway under the watchful eye of two-time Indianapolis 500 winner Al Unser Jr. was more than enough to convince Panther team owner John Barnes that the young Californian was the next pilot to take over the reins of the No. 4 National Guard entry, following in the footsteps of other Panther drivers like Scott Goodyear, Sam Hornish Jr., Tomas Scheckter, Vitor Meira and Dan Wheldon.

2012 – 11th Overall IZOD Indy Car Series Championship
2012 – 2 – top 5 finishes, 6 – top 10 finishes
2011 – 2nd place in 100th running of the Indianapolis 500
2011 – 14th Overall IZOD Indy Car Series Championship
2010 – Competed in 2 IZOD Indy Car races (Mid-Ohio and Sonoma)
Posted fastest lap of the race at Sonoma
2009 – Firestone Indy Lights Champion
Recorded four wins, eleven top-five finishes, twelve top-ten finishes, and five poles
Participated in 3 day test with the Force India F1 Team
2008 – Finished fifth in Firestone Lights standings
Won his first career race at Kansas, also recorded 8 top-five and 12 top-ten finishes
2007 – Made Firestone Indy Lights debut at Infineon double header with RLR/Anderson Racing
Finished seventh in Champ Car Atlantic competition, recording a best finish of second at Cleveland
2006 – Won Cooper Tires Formula Ford 2000 championship for Cape Motorsports, recording a record-setting 12 victories in 14 races
Made Champ Car Atlantic debut
2005 – Finished second in Pacific F2000 championship, recording two victories and nine podiums in 12 races
Competed in four Cooper Tires Formula Ford 2000 events
Finished thrid in Formula Palmer Audi Autumn Cup after winning Team USA Scholarship
2004 – Won SCCA Formula Russell Championship, recording seven victories and 11 podiums
Named SCCA Formula Russell Rookie of the Year
Selected as Red Bull Driver Search finalist
2003 Won Jim Russell graduate run-offs
Finished second in Jim Russell Championship series Junior 80 shifter cart division
2002 Captured Jim Russell Sprint Cart Series Championship in TaG 125 class, recording four victories