Robert Wickens, Karli Wickens,Bryan Herta Autosport, Hyundai, 2021

Wickens to return to racing using modified Hyundai touring car

IndyCar

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Former IndyCar driver Robert Wickens will make his racing return in the IMSA Michelin Pilot Challenge (IMPC), driving a Hyundai Elantra for Bryan Herta Autosport.

Wickens will race for the first time since suffering serious injuries in a shocking accident during an IndyCar race in Pocono in 2018. The accident left Wickens with a spinal cord injury and paralysis, meaning he is unable to race using conventional pedal controls.

Driving for Bryan Herta Autosport (BHA), Wickens’s Hyundai will feature custom hand control systems for throttle and braking designed by BHA technical director David Brown and development technician Jonathan Gormley. Special rings attached to the wheel can be pulled by hand to activate the brake, along with a throttle paddle for acceleration. Wickens had previously tested the modified Elantra touring car last year.

Wickens will race alongside team mate Mark Wilkins in the number 33 Elantra in the IMPC, starting with the 24 Hours of Daytona on January 29. The 31-year-old Canadian said the announcement of his return to racing is one he had been “dreaming of” during his rehabilitation.

“I’ve spent a lot of nights thinking and dreaming of this moment, and with the support from Bryan Herta and Hyundai it is all becoming a reality,” said Wickens. “I am hungrier now than I was before my accident to compete for wins again. I’m really looking forward to incorporating myself with the entire Bryan Herta Autosport team and finally get my first taste of the Hyundai Elantra N TCR.”

BHA team president Bryan Herta hailed the announcement of Wickens’s return as a “monumental day for us as a team and as fans of Robert Wickens.”

“We have followed along with Robert’s rehabilitation and marveled at his determination and dedication, along with his many, many fans,” Herta said.

“To now announce that he will be making his professional motorsports return in one of our Hyundai Elantra N TCR cars is truly incredible. We thank Hyundai for their amazing support and helping us build a path for Robert to get back to where he belongs.”

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Will Wood
Will has been a RaceFans contributor since 2012 during which time he has covered F1 test sessions, launch events and interviewed drivers. He mainly...

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  • 11 comments on “Wickens to return to racing using modified Hyundai touring car”

    1. Fantastic news! His journey to get back to this point is nothing short of incredible.

      1. Reading the news of Wickens back to racing, while walking and feeling a sunlight in my face; today is a good day.

    2. This is wonderful news. I really wish him all the best and hope he truly enjoys himself back behind the wheel.

    3. Over 3 years later, and I still haven’t come to terms with the utter lack of class and grace displayed by Michael Andretti while Wickens was still in his car with unknown but clearly life-threatening injuries, in which he argued to cameras that the crash was not the fault of “his” driver RHR. Wickens’ Indy debut was probably the most impressive I have seen, he was absolutely stellar from his very first race (dominant but punted out by a ridiculously hopeful move by Rossi) and I still feel we were robbed of a proper talent by that shunt. It was also predictable – having walked the outside of that fence at Pocono, I had to wonder what insanity led to that being sanctioned as a “safe” race venue, but that’s a different story.

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    4. Absolutely brilliant news

    5. Great to see, wish him all the luck, and success he deserves!

    6. He was supposed to fully recover…is that still a credible option?
      Fingers crossed.
      Godspeed!

      1. I hope for that too. I’ve been checking on his Instagram every now and again and Robert does have feeling and limited motion in his legs, just enough to be able to stand when supported but not enough to make take steps on his own.
        Nerves take incredibly long to heal, so I hope there is still much room for progress.

        I have fond memories of Robert’s spectacular IndyCar debut and I wish him all the best.
        Even if it takes 10 more years, if one day he is able to step into an IndyCar again that would be a joy!

    7. Great news! Wickens, like many other racers recovering from disastrous accidents, continues to inspire.

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    8. So inspiring! Hope it goes well for him.

    9. Best news in motorsport in a long time, really incredible feat. Mega happy for him, that’s a true racer.

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