- Wickens will return to driving three years after his IndyCar accident.
- Wickens joins Mark Wilkins in the all-Canadian racing duo of the Elantra N TCR n33 race car.
FOUNTAIN VALLEY, Calif., Jan. 14, 2022 /CNW/ — Bryan Herta Autosport (BHA) and Hyundai Motor North America, three-time International Motor Sports Association (IMSA) Michelin Pilot Challenge (IMPC) champions, announced that they have signed the international motor racing star Robert Wickens title of co-driver of the Elantra N TCR n33 racing car. Wickens will race the car with fellow countryman and Canadian champion, Mark Wilkins, in the 2022 IMPC season.
Today is a special day for all of us as team members and as fans of Robert Wickens, said Bryan Herta, president of the BHA team. We have followed Robert’s rehabilitation and have been amazed by his determination and commitment, as well as his many admirers. The announcement today of his return to professional motorsport driving one of our Hyundai Elantra N TCR cars is truly incredible. We thank Hyundai for their incredible support and for helping us pave the way Robert of back behind a steering wheel.
In May 2021, Wickens successfully raced the #54 Hyundai Veloster N TCR car from the BHA stable using manual controls. It was his first time driving a race car after 989 days of rehabilitation from an IndyCar crash that crippled him in 2018. Wickens will return to competition taking the green flag in the season-opening race of the IMPC, a four-hour endurance race at the start of the 24-hour race weekend Daytona Rolex at Daytona International Speedway on Jan. 28.
I spent many nights thinking and dreaming of this moment, and with the support of Bryan Herta and Hyundai, it’s all coming true, Wickens said. I am even more determined than before my accident to surpass myself to win new victories! I’m really looking forward to joining the entire Bryan Herta Autosport team and finally getting my first experience behind the wheel of the Hyundai Elantra N TCR.
Wickens, a former Formula 1 test driver, stormed onto the US IndyCar Series stage in 2018 as a rookie. his first race in IndyCar, he took the lead and led all but two laps, in addition to being on the podium four times. He also won Indy 500 Rookie of the Year in his first 12 IndyCar races in 2018. The 13and racing his brilliant rookie season in IndyCar changed his life forever. Wickens was involved in an accident at 7and lap at Pocono Raceway, suffering spinal fracture with dorsal spinal cord injury, neck fracture, tibia and pron fractures in both legs, fractures in both hands, front fracture -right arm, elbow fracture, concussion, four rib fractures and lung contusion. Since the accident, Wickens’ perseverance has allowed him to make dramatic progress in his daily, uninterrupted sessions of physical and therapeutic rehabilitation. Wickens and his team of therapists and trainers have become pioneers in developing innovative technologies and treatment methods for victims of traumatic spinal cord injuries.
The Hyundai Elantra N TCR n33 car has been fitted with a custom manual control system designed by David Brown, technical director of the BHA stable, and Jonathan Gormley, development technician. The system includes a custom metal ring connected to the brake pedal by a series of rods specially adapted to the Elantra. The ring is fixed behind the steering wheel, making it possible to pull on it with the fingers in order to activate the brakes. Two throttle levers and gearshift levers, mounted behind the steering wheel, allow the driver to accelerate, change gears and control the direction. The system also includes a switch allowing Mark Wilkins of deactivate the manual accelerator when he takes the wheel during pit stops. When Wilkins is behind the wheel, the Elantra accelerates and brakes using conventional pedals.
Wickens and Wilkins join the team of pilots of the BHA stable 2022 comprising six Elantra N TCR vehicles, previously announced, with the aim of defending the team’s three titles and helping Hyundai win its third consecutive constructors’ title. The 2022 season will begin with the Early Season Test Days, followed by the Roar Before the Rolex 24 race at Daytona International Speedway, January 21-23, 2022. The first round of the 2022 IMPC season will take place the following weekend with the BMW Endurance Challenge race, a four-hour race during the weekend of 24-hour activities Daytona Rolex, on Friday, January 28, 2022.
Hyundai Motor America
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SOURCE Hyundai Auto Canada Corp.
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Press release sent on January 14, 2022 at 3:20 p.m. and distributed by: