Robert Wickens

Robert Wickens – the incredible story of the return that makes you think

A few years ago, the name Wickens was definitely on the list of possible Formula 1 drivers. Talented he surprised and showed again amazing results at the various motorsport championships. But everything changed. In 2018, Robert Wickens was involved in a serious accident, from which not the racing driver’s career but his whole life hung by a thread.

The story begins.

Robert Wickens knows first-hand that motorsport is more than dangerous. He began his karting career in 2001 with victories in the Junior Heavy Marigold Fall Classic and the Junior Lite Iron Man Enduro. Throughout his experience, the Canadian has been able to compete in various motorsport championships and is the one who has been able to drive Formula BMW, Renault and DTM cars.

Canadian driver joined Schmidt Peterson Motorsports for the IndyCar Series in June 2017. He replaced Russian Mikhail Leshin for the Kohler Grand Prix at Road America. At the end of the year, it was announced that the Canadian would join the team full-time for the 2018 season. He took pole position in his first qualifying, Alexander Rossi took the lead and a race accident occurred that ousted Wickens from the lead. Nevertheless, Robert Wickens awarded the Indianapolis 500 Rookie of the Year. He finished fifth in the Iowa Corn 300 race at Iowa Speedway on July 11, 2018, and third in the Indy Toronto race.

Rober Wickens’ accident at Pocono.

At the start of the ABC Supply 500 at Pocono Raceway on August 19, 2018, no one could have imagined that the race would end like this. Robert Wickens pulled hard past Ryan Hunter-Reay on the straight on Turn 2 after a restart on Lap 7. Neither driver skidded, the cars hit the wheels, causing Hunter-Reay to hit the front of Wickens’ car and Wickens’ car to tip over the nose of Hunter-Reay’s Andretti Autosport. Wickens’ car broke on impact with the guardrail and slit all four tires and most of the body from the chassis.

The cockpit tub came off the barrier and landed back on the track. A red flag stopped the race while Wickens was freed from the car. Indycar officials rushed to reassure the fans, telling that Robert was “awake and alert”. Helicopters arrived to take the Canadian to the hospital. Subsequent reports said driver was hospitalized with fractures to his legs, spine and right forearm, as well as a pulmonary contusion. Robert Wicken’s crash became one of the most horrific crashes in motorsport history. From that moment it was clear that Canadian would never return to racing. The main question was, “Will he ever get back on his feet?”

Robert Wickens: The Way Back.

After that terrible crash in Pocono, his spine was injured and Robert Wickens himself was partially paralyzed. It is hard to imagine how much will Robert has. However, not a day went by without his training. Day and night, day and night…

He trained using special techniques and made every effort to restore his physical fitness as far as possible in his condition. Of course, he did not lose faith in himself, largely thanks to his relatives. Less than a year later, a video surfaced on social media in which Robert Wickens got to his feet for the first time. His movements were weak and uncertain, but his eyes were full of self-confidence. It became clear that Robert would not stop no matter how difficult it was.

Robert Wickens training
Robert Wickens training

Robert Wickens back in the race

“It’s impossible!” – that was our first thought when it became known that Robert would be back behind the wheel. Hard to imagine, but Wickens did it. In May 2021, Robert was behind the wheel of a manual racing car for the first time. He completed a test session with the BHA team at Mid-Ohio Sports Car Course in a Hyundai Veloster N.

This is already an important stage in the process. Now it is time to take the next step and he is ready to return to professional motorsport. In 2022, he will compete in the American IMSA Michelin Pilot Challenge series for the Bryan Herta Autosport team. Robert will drive the Hyundai Elantra NTCR together with his teammate, another Canadian racing driver Mark Wilkins.

It’s been a long, winding, and difficult road to this point and the journey is not over, but thankful we’ll be able to move down the road with a bit more speed!

Robert Wickens Twitter

Nothing is impossible.

That’s the point! When you look Robert Wickens in the eye, it’s impossible to imagine that this smiling guy was on the verge of losing four years ago, but he didn’t give up, no matter how difficult his path is. No matter how much Robert Wickens will achieve in his new racing experience, he’s already the winner for people. He defeated people’s assumptions, defeated himself and circumstances!

Today Robert Wickens has his hands full! The first four-hour race is coming up and the season will take place at the Daytona circuit in January. Wickens will take turns driving car no. 33 with Wilkins. Hyundai Veloster N is equipped with a special manual steering system developed by specialists from the BHA. The team principal Brian Herta has helped Robert all these years. In addition, Robert Wickens will continue to work as a consultant and driver coach for the IndyCar team Arrow McLaren SP.