Schmidt Peterson Motorsports announced today its lineup for the 2018 Verizon IndyCar Series season. Oakville, Ontario native James Hinchcliffe has renewed his contract with the Indianapolis-based team in a multi-year extension, and the 2011 IndyCar Rookie of the Year’s teammate will be countryman and friend Robert Wickens, a native of Guelph. The duo marks the first all-Canadian lineup in North American open-wheel racing since 2004 (Champ Car; Forsythe Racing: Paul Tracy, Patrick Carpentier).
“Not only am I really excited to be able to say I’ll be back with SPM for next year and beyond, but I am also really looking forward to being teammates with one of my oldest friends,” the 30-year-old Hinchcliffe commented. “Robbie and I grew up racing against one another, eventually took different paths, me staying in North America in open-wheel cars and him going off to Europe in sports cars, but it’s pretty neat that we both ended up here and we get to live our dream of being professional racing drivers, together on the same team. I think 2018 is going to be a great year for the SPM organization, from having Robbie here to the team’s new partnership with Honda and the 2018 aero kit; I just can’t wait to get back on track and bring some good results home for the Arrow Electronics crew.”
The Season 23 Dancing with the Stars runner-up has thus far captured five wins (St. Pete, Sao Paulo, Iowa 2013; New Orleans 2015; Long Beach 2017), 14 podium finishes and one pole position (Indianapolis 500, 2016) in his six full seasons of IndyCar competition. Hinchcliffe has led 691 laps to date.
With two Formula Championships under his belt (Formula BMW USA, 2006; Formula Renault 3.5, 2011) as well as a season as a Formula One test driver (Marussia Virgin Racing), Wickens will make his return to open-wheel racing following six seasons of competing in Europe for Mercedes Benz in Deutsche Tourenwagen Masters (DTM). During his time in sports cars, the 28-year-old clinched six wins, five pole positions and 15 podium finishes.
“This is an entirely new chapter to add to my racing career, and I am really excited for this opportunity that Schmidt Peterson Motorsports has given me,” Wickens noted. “I think everyone knows the story by now that James and I grew up racing against one another in go karts, and to make it to the largest open-wheel racing series in North America together as teammates, it’s crazy to think about. I am very thankful for the six years I had with everyone at Mercedes and DTM; those are memories I will cherish forever. I can’t wait to truly see what the Verizon IndyCar Series is all about!”
“We’re all very pleased to have Robert on board, and not just because he’s another Canadian,” added SPM co-owner and fellow Canadian, Ric Peterson. “He’s obviously someone who has been on our radar for some time now, and we’re excited about this new chapter in the SPM organization. We’ve been building a lot of momentum within the team and hope this latest addition will be a great next step as we move forward. I’m also really proud that we’ll be able to represent ‘Team Canada’ and be able to showcase two great Canadian athletes.”
#TeamCanada will be available to media tomorrow, October 19 at Goodwood Kartways (5200 Concession 2 Road, Whitchurch-Stouffville) from 3:30 p.m. – 4:00 p.m. with a media vs. drivers karting race immediately following. (Please RSVP your attendance to SPM Press Officer Veronica Knowlton.) A free, public meet and greet with the IndyCar drivers will then take place from 4:15 p.m. – 5:15 p.m.
You can keep up with the latest news from SPM and its 2018 lineup via Twitter/Facebook/Instagram at @SPMindycar, @Hinchtown and @RobertWickens.
TIL NEXT TIME, I AM STILL WORKING ON MY REDNECK!