track-talk

October 19th, 2017

For the first time since 2003, IndyCar racing will have an all-Canadian team when Robert Wickens lines up alongside James Hinchcliffe at Schmidt Peterson Motorsports in 2018. Team Canada now joins Team America (Andretti), Team International (Penske) and the rumored Team Kiwi (Chip Ganassi). So who is Robert Wickens? We bring you up to speed with five fast facts about IndyCar racing’s new rookie Canuck.

  1. He’s been racing in Germany’s DTM series since 2012. What’s the DTM series? It stands for Deutsche Tourenwagen Masters, and it’s the German touring car series- arguably the biggest and most competitive touring car series in the world. During his time as a Mercedes driver Wickens racked up six wins, 15 podiums, five poles, and a best finish of 4th in the 2016 championship. Notable DTM alum include Mika Hakinnen, Ralf and Michael Schumacher, Heinz-Harald Frentzen, Jean Alesi, and Dario Franchitti (to name a few).

  2. His open wheel experience spans two continents. Like reigning IndyCar champion, Josef Newgarden, Wickens has experience on both sides of the Atlantic. A season in the 2007 Champ Car Atlantic Championship was followed up with seasons in Formula Renault 3.5, Formula 3, Formula 2, GP3, and the now defunct A1GP Series (to name a few).

  3. He’s a former Formula 1 test driver. A test driver for the now defunct Marussia Formula 1 team (then called Marussia Virgin Racing), Wickens joins the list of IndyCar drivers with Formula 1 experience including: Alexander Rossi, Max Chilton, and Takuma Sato.

  4. And speaking of Alexander Rossi. Did you know that Wickens beat out Rossi and a number of future racing stars to win the 2011 Formula Renault 3.5 Championship? After Rossi, this list also includes Red Bull Racing’s Daniel Ricardo, rumoured 2018 Chip Ganassi racing driver Brendon Hartley, and the guy Wicken’s is replacing at SPM, Mikhail Aleshin.

  5. Wickens has won in just about everything he’s ever raced. I poured over the data on his Wikipedia page, and with the exception of a very brief two-race stint in Formula Renault 2.0, Wickens has won in every car he’s raced going back to his Formula BMW days. We spend a lot of time looking at total wins, podiums, etc, to gauge success, but his greatest strength could be his ability to adapt to different cars with limited testing or experience.

Victor Genova is the host of the Media People Podcast and a freelance racing writer. You can follow him on Twitter at @VicGenova

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