Herta needs to run Wickens in subsequent yr’s Indianapolis 500

DAYTONA BEACH, Fla. (AP) — Bryan Herta needs to enter Robert Wickens within the Indianapolis 500 as early as 2024 — a yr longer than most popular as work continues on the hand controls wanted for the paralyzed driver.

Wickens suffered a spinal twine damage in a crash at Pocono Raceway in his 2018 IndyCar rookie season. He is labored as a driver coach for the Arrow McLaren IndyCar workforce since, however last year with Bryan Herta Autosport and Hyundai returned to racing in the IMSA Michelin Pilot Challenge.

The 33-year-old Canadian won a pair of races driving a Hyundai Elantra N-TCR that’s fitted for Wickens to race strictly by way of hand controls. Herta mentioned Thursday that perfecting that expertise for an Indy automotive within the greatest race on this planet has slowed the challenge he is decided to do with Wickens.

“I’d like to take Robbie again to Indy as a result of I do know he might try this and I feel that may be a subsequent step for him in his journey,” Herta informed The Related Press. “We have spent lots of time wanting on the logistical facet of issues, hand controls, and I feel we’ve options for that.”

Herta mentioned Honda has been supportive of the method.

“We really checked out doing it this yr, however the logistics of it, the timing, it simply wasn’t sufficient,” Herta mentioned. “That is not one thing you possibly can rush. There’s some issues that we’ve to work very carefully with IndyCar on and issues we simply must get proper. It is a course of, however I can see a path to it.”

Wickens, when informed his boss was overtly discussing the Indy 500, grinned broadly. Herta as a workforce proprietor received the Indianapolis 500 with Dan Wheldon and Alexander Rossi.

“That’d be enjoyable,” he mentioned of operating the Indy 500.

However like Herta, Wickens mentioned the hassle must be each finished appropriately and be aggressive.

“We might love to do it proper. If we began proper now, can we get a automotive prepared for the open check in April? Most likely,” Wickens informed The AP. “However I do not know the place the techniques could be and I need to get on correct simulators to verify its appropriate.

“All of us need to do a correct, skilled effort,” he added. “I do not need to do it for a advertising marketing campaign. I need to do it for an opportunity to win.”

Wickens in 2021 did an indication in Canada that marketed developments for paralyzed drivers and gave him an opportunity to once more drive. His complete life had been upended 14 races into his rookie IndyCar season, simply three months after profitable high rookie honors on the Indianapolis 500.

Wickens has since married, returned to racing final yr and welcomed the start of his first baby, an son named Wesley whom is infatuated with each race vehicles and the journey to Disney he took this week in the course of the off days at Daytona Worldwide Speedway.

Wickens, who makes use of a wheelchair however can stand with some assist, marks a full yr again racing on Friday within the season-opening IMSA Michelin Pilot Problem race. Regardless of success final season, Herta made modifications to his lineups and Wickens this yr shall be teamed with Harry Gottsacker.


AP auto racing: https://apnews.com/hub/auto-racing and https://twitter.com/AP_Sports

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