Canadian race car drivers, Robert Wickens and James Hinchcliffe met at Goodwood Kartways last Thursday, to greet fans, sign autographs, and discuss their brand new, all Canadian, IndyCar racing team.
Schmidt Peterson Motorsports of the Verizon IndyCar Series, recently announced Mr. Hinchcliffe has agreed to a multi-year contract, with the team and Mr. Wickens has signed on to be his partner.
Robert Wickens competed in his last DTM race, with the Mercedes-AMF team at Hockenheim, and said he is sad to be leaving Mercedes but is excited to compete in IndyCar with Hinchcliffe.
“Hockenheim, last weekend, was really tough, knowing that it was the last one. I was justtrying cherish every memory I could, and take everything in,” Mr. Wickens said. “It’s tough, because I’ve been there for six years and I’ve made such good friendships, honestly, they’re a second family to me,”.
He told the Standard it’s bittersweet, leaving the Mercedes team, but representing Canada in IndyCar racing is something he looks forward to.
There hasn’t been an all Canadian Indy Car team in over a decade, not since Paul Tracy and Patrick Carpentier competed back in 2004. So, expectations are high for the two Canadians, as the 2018 season approaches.
“So many Canadians have done the series proud. The fact that it’s been over a decade, since there’s been an all Canadian lineup in Indy Car, it’s an honour to be a part of that and I hope we can look back in 15, 20 years from now, grey-haired, and be proud of a legacy we made,” Mr. Wickens said.
He has spent most of his racing career competing in Europe, and is happy to return back to Canada and compete at home. “I haven’t been able to race in my home country for 10 or 11 years now. So being able to do that and hopefully get some good results for my Canadian people is going to be really special.”
In addition to representing Canada, Robert is also happy to be racing with his old buddy, James Hinchcliffe. They raced together in their youth, at Goodwood Kartways, and always kept in touch.
According to Robert, the two motorsports champions, each carved out careers in the racing industry, they always remained friends. “He’s ultimately my best friend, definitely one of them, that’s for sure, and even though we haven’t raced against each other for quite a while, our friendship definitely didn’t spread apart,” he said.
Roberts is looking forward to his first full-stop IndyCar race in St. Petersburg, and is eager to compete in the new racing league.
When asked about his future in IndyCar racing, Mr. Wickens said he’s optimistic and can’t wait to compete. “Making Canada proud on a world scale, and trying to raise awareness of Canadian motorsport [is] the biggest thing [for me.] And trying to give back anyway we can, every step of the way,”.