Verizon INDYCAR Series
Schmidt Peterson Motorsports Goes With All-Canadian Line-Up
If you see Schmidt Peterson Motorsports chatting with a moose or sharing a beaver tail, don’t be alarmed as the organization announced a pair of Canadians will drive their Verizon IndyCar Series entries in 2018.
James Hinchcliffe renewed his contract with a multi-year extension to continue driving for the organization, and will be joined by Robert Wickens. It marks the first all Canadian open-wheel line-up since Forsythe Racing in 2004 with Paul Tracy and Patrick Carpentier.
“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.”
Hinchcliffe has been successful with SPM and in IndyCar, scoring five wins and 14 podiums over the course of six seasons. Last year, he placed 13th in the final standings with a win and three podiums.
“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 said. “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.”
Wickens enters the Verizon IndyCar Series following a pair of Formula Championships – 2006 Formula BMW USA, and 2011 Renault 3.5 title holder, and has a year as a Formula 1 test driver under his belt. The Guelph, Ontario native has spent the past six seasons away from open-wheel competition, winning six events and 15 podiums in Europe for Mercedes Benz in Deutsche Tourenwagen Masters (DTM).
He did take part in an IndyCar test last season, and practiced with SPM in place of Mikhail Aleshin at Road America; Aleshin did complete in qualifying and the race, though.
“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!”
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