Phone: Samsung S8+
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.
JR is currently working with MIT on a STEM based curriculum for 9th - 12th graders. He also recently got married to his longtime girlfriend Kristin Paine.